|Dear Team SISD: |
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!
José Espinoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools