Steering Committee holds first meeting
Houston County Courier
By Ashlie LeBlanc
Latexo I.S.D held its first district steering committee meeting Thursday, Nov. 28 in the high school cafeteria. There were 32 parents/community members present for the meeting. The committee has been set up to look at the needs and goals for the district as it moves towards the future. Don Elsom, superintendent for Latexo I.S.D. opened the meeting with the quote of the night, “Providing education without community and parent support is like trying to fill a water bucket with no bottom.” Elsom added, “You can put in all the resources and hard work you want to. You are just not going to get there.” Elsom stated there are four questions to be asked in order for a change to occur. “Where are we going? What do our students need? What are our main goals? How do we get there?” Those four questions represent the purpose of the committee that was recently formed by the Latexo school board. That purpose is to answer the questions so the district can better serve and educate its students. Elsom gave an overview of where the district is now. What is known now as the high school, which was built in 1980, was originally designed for grades Pre-K to 12. The new elementary school was built in 1998. The district has built a new agriculture arena by the bus barn, added a new softball field and six portable buildings for classrooms and labs. The elementary school has a new sport cork floor in the gym, and added a fine arts program. One main concern regarded the labs for both high school and the elementary school. Prior to Thursday’s meeting, Elsom asked the science teachers to review the state facility standards and safety standards and report any deficiencies. According to state standards, labs are required to have a certain number of square footage. By state standards, Latexo’s square footage of science labs is inadequate for the number of students. The outside lab at the high school is only 800 square feet, and it needs to be 1200 square feet. Also, it needs to have a master cut off, Elsom explained. Elsom stated, “If there was an incident with a burner, you would have to go to each station and turn every one off. There needs to be one cut off for the entire building.” Also, the equipment is aging and needs repair or upgrading, as do the chemical cabinets. He also said that the district is working on making improvements. One of the improvements is that cabinets have been ordered so that chemicals can be locked up. When asked about her goal for the committee, Julie Schoppe, a parent, said, “Our goal is to provide the best education for a child. Not just TAKS, but success all around.” One of the two activities that parents and community members participated in was taking an open tour of the high school. All of the classroom doors were open so that they could freely walk around and make their own observations. Once back in the cafeteria, Elsom organized everyone into groups of four and had them list out five goals that they would like to see happen to L.I.S.D. Elsom said his goal is “to work as a community and school in order to get the main goals achieved and work on the curriculum.” He is going to put the different groups’ goals together and present them at the next meeting. Elsom said this will be a test for him to see how he is doing and how the school is doing. John Kilian, who attended the meeting stated, “I think this is a good idea. It shows the superintendent wants to be involved, and parents as well.” The steering committee will meet again on Monday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Latexo Elementary School library.