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CURRENT ATTENDANCE AVERAGE: 96.1%

SCHOOLS JOBS CALENDAR

Socorro Independent School District

Leading • Inspiring • Innovating

 
Dear Team SISD:             

Cynthia Najera
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the community we serve, I want to take this opportunity to thank Thompson and Horton for conducting their in-depth investigation of our past policies and practices. Together with Dr. Pam Padilla, who conducted the initial review, the firm’s diligent work has given us a full understanding of the district’s past in regards to student participation in accountability measures.

Equally, I thank Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza for his leadership during this important time for the district. It was his shared commitment with the Board of Trustees to ensuring open, transparent governance and accountability for all that led us to initiate Dr. Padilla’s review and this second-level investigation. Self-evaluation is never easy, but it is essential to ensure that the district as a whole and the people entrusted to serve our community are acting in the best interest of students.

While we are encouraged by the fact that there was no systemic approach to manipulate accountability data or harm children, some children in our system were not provided the best possible opportunity to succeed which is our goal for every student. We are committed to continue our work to ensure this will never happen again!

As with Bond 2011, the Board of Trustees and Dr. Espinoza are committed to Promises Made, Promises Kept! Today, we renew our promise to move forward in the same manner which brought us to this point, openly and transparently.
  • We have self-reported Dr. Padilla’s review to all appropriate agencies and will also submit Thompson and Horton’s investigation.
  • We have developed and implemented a comprehensive Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to address the concerns found in the initial review, including:
    • identifying and supporting specific students impacted;
    • continued improvement of the district’s systems to ensure consistency and equal opportunity for all students; and,
    • communication of pertinent information on the subject to internal and external stakeholders to ensure accountability for all.
  • We have expanded the district’s internal audit function to instill more checks and balances, specifically reviewing the academic function, by adding a second internal auditor and an academic compliance officer.
  • The Board has taken a more proactive role in reviewing administrative regulations.
The Board remains proud to serve this community and is grateful for the continued trust and support of our students, parents, and faculty and staff as we have worked through this process. I am confident that working together through this self-evaluation and follow-through we will emerge a stronger community. With the facts before us, we can move forward without hesitation and realize our vision of “Tomorrow’s Leaders Learning Today.”

Respectfully,
Cynthia Ann Najera
Board President
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Espinoza
 
First and foremost, I would like to thank our Board of Trustees for their outstanding leadership and fortitude in authorizing the external review by Dr. Pam Padilla and the investigation by Thompson and Horton. The Board’s commitment to following through with this process with fidelity, together with the detailed work by both external investigators, have given us a clear picture of the district’s past grade placement and reclassification practices.

We now know, without question, that there was not a widespread effort to manipulate state or federal accountability systems! While the practices in place during the 2009-2012 school years created the anomalies identified by Dr. Padilla, there was no systemic approach carried out overall by the district administration to cheat or harm students.

AS A RESULT, THE FOUR EMPLOYEES PREVIOUSLY PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE HAVE BEEN FULLY CLEARED OF ANY INTENTIONAL WRONGDOING AND WILL BE WELCOMED BACK TO THEIR ROLES AS LEADERS WITHIN THE DISTRICT.

That said the second-level investigation did uncover isolated incidents in which well-established practices concerning students’ advancement to the next grade level were violated. We do not believe there was malicious intent to harm students. Nevertheless, these isolated acts are unacceptable, and appropriate action will be taken to ensure compliance with district rules in the future.

It is important to remember that these are isolated incidents that occurred one year, and there is no evidence of these actions occurring at other campuses.

To ensure that these incidents never happen again, we have made great progress with implementation of the district’s Corrective Action Plan (CAP). I want to thank Mr. Tony Reza, Chief Financial Officer and CAP Committee Chair, and the members of the CAP Committee for their work and commitment to ensuring we have systems in place to serve ALL of our students as if they were our own children. They deserve nothing less!

I also want to thank the rest of Team SISD for their continued trust and support during this trying time. We have over 6,000 employees in Socorro ISD, and I reaffirm with great confidence that an overwhelming majority of them do their work with the highest level of integrity. Together with supportive parents, partners, and the community at-large, we will realize our vision of “Tomorrow’s Leaders Learning Today.”

I look forward to working side by side with our returning team members and the stakeholders we serve. “Achieving Success as a Team” is much more than a motto. It’s a commitment we make, which defines our way of life in SISD!

Respectfully,
José Espinoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 
Last Modified on August 21, 2014