Although the board has not addressed the issue since September, the fight to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School is not over.
Several residents went before the Tyler ISD board of trustees Monday night to remind the board that the possibility of a name change is important to them.
In September, a majority of the board had signaled support for changing the name of the school, but did not set a timetable for taking action.
Four members of the public spoke to the board about the possibility of changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School on Monday. A fifth speaker, Bob Brewer, expressed his disappointment at the way the district had executed its observance of Constitution Week.
Attorney Nick Pesina said the goal was to remind the board that members of the community still care about the issue and that it will not be going away. Pesina said the group had continued to attend board meetings to show that the issue was local and mattered, but were disappointed to see that by the end of the semester, nothing else had made the agenda.
Tyler NAACP President Cedrick Granberry read statements from both the state and local branches of the organization urging the district to change the name.
No members of the public spoke against the name change Monday night.
Tyler ISD also took a look at its outcomes during the meeting.
During the Curriculum and Instruction update, the board was presented with an update on district-wide changes to educational strategies.
Dr. Christy Hanson, Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, said the C&I department has set goals in six areas: standards, curriculum, instruction, assessment, enrichment and professional development.
A big part of the strategy is focusing on teachers working with administrators to develop the best strategies for the district.
“Curriculum is localized, that’s not something that other people can dictate to us, because we know what works for our community,” Hanson said.
The district also got a snapshot of how its Advanced Placement students are doing.
Gary Brown, Executive Director of College and Career, presented Advanced Placement progress since 2015. The district had set a two-year goal of 4 percent growth, aiming for growing the percentage of students making a 3 or higher on AP exams from 44.5 percent to 48.5 percent. In just one year, the district saw a 7.1 percent increase, ending the 2016-17 school year with 51.6 percent of AP students scoring a 3 or higher on exams.
The number of students taking AP courses has grown by more than 250 since 2015, with 1,254 students enrolled as of December.
The district’s T-TESS evaluation update reviewed the system with which educators are evaluated in the district. The review showed that under this new system, which took effect in 2017, principals are spending far more time with their teachers and educators are encouraged to develop a dialogue about educational and disciplinary strategies.
The board also entered into an agreement with the University of Texas at Tyler to enable graduate students in school psychology to receive clinical hours working with Tyler ISD.
Elementary Student of the Month - Natalie Martinez, a fourth grade student at T.J. Austin Elementary.
Secondary Student of the Month - Ricky Brown, a ninth grade student at the RISE Academy High School.
Aamiyah Washington, from Robert E. Lee High School, was recognized for creating the artwork that was selected to be used for the TISD holiday greeting card.
Taylor Struggs, a captain in the John Tyler High School Brigadettes, was recognized for being selected as an all-state dancer. Struggs will perform in the Texas Dance Educators Association convention in January.
Homer Holt, a junior at Robert E. Lee, was recognized for being selected to perform with the Texas All-State Jazz Ensemble I as part of the 2018 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention. His audition ranked him as the No. 5 jazz trumpet player in the state.
December Teacher of the Month – Shannon Kinkade, an eighth grade Math & Algebra I Pre-AP teacher at Hogg Middle School.