Our partnership with TVCC allowed college ready juniors and seniors to receive virtual dual credit courses until 2021 when EISD was able to offer face to face courses at the High School. A year later in 2022, college ready freshmen joined the program as the students were clearly benefiting from face to face dual credit and concurrent courses funded by the district.
Elkhart’s Excellence in Education Foundation
This foundation was established in 2021 and is supported by community members and local businesses to annually give three Elkhart High School graduates $2,500 to further pursue their education.
Transportation and distance are the main barriers for rural school districts like Elkhart ISD to provide summer meals to its students. Beginning in Summer 2023, we were able to join in partnership with the Meals-to-You program under Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to have meals delivered weekly to our qualifying student’s homes. To qualify for this service, students would have to be approved for free/reduced meals for the current school year. 27% of the 2022-23 student body applied during this first year of service with over 87% of those families being approved to receive meals throughout the summer. We look for these numbers to increase and highly encourage all families to complete the Lunch Application for the 2023-24 school year for a chance to qualify for meals in the Summer of 2024.
Unity in Community
Elkhart Our Town was established to bring our community together and display unity within our community. This Facebook broadcast frequently provides uplifting messages and school district announcements by community leaders who also serve as security for athletic competitions and are willing to stream fine arts events. EISD also supports the charities in Elkhart by sponsoring canned food drives on every campus while the athletic department stocks the food pantries. Our students gain an understanding of helping today and leading tomorrow.
EISD has been intentional about providing our staff and students with technology resources necessary for learning. Our team has built an infrastructure to support the district and move from a 5:1 ratio to a 1:1 ratio of devices for students in grades Pre-K to 12. Our paraprofessional staff are provided laptops to assist in research and support for our teachers and students. Outdated projectors have been replaced with smart monitors while Special Education and Response to Intervention (RTI) classrooms now have Promethean Boards. We also have traditional computer labs to assist students with more complex instructional software and testing.
A facility management replacement schedule was developed in 2019-20 and has been maintained to assist with the upkeep of the district which has included adding on to our CTE building at the high school and building an Ag Pavilion by utilizing fund balance.
Grow Your Own Teacher Program
As a long-term approach to address the educator shortage, this program places an emphasis on growing potential educators from our high school students. Individuals who are interested in this program partner with teachers, principals and central office staff members to participate in practicums which allow them to develop skills first-hand. During practicum, students gain hands-on experience with engaging students, providing academic feedback and facilitating small group instruction and summer enrichment activities for the lower campuses. Graduates from the program are recruited to serve as paraprofessionals and are encouraged to continue with their education to become teachers and coaches.
We believe in developing bright minds and giving staff opportunities to move up therefore allowing us to hire the best candidates for a position. As individuals have transitioned due to retirement or promotions in other districts, we have been able to hold on to institutional knowledge of the district and improve departments and campuses by developing and promoting from within.
EISD staff are supported in many ways. Administrators listen to challenges and collaborate together to provide optimal solutions as well as ongoing feedback to staff members by highlighting glows and grows. Informal and formal walk-throughs and evaluations are completed to undergird student achievement and limit disruptive behaviors.
EISD revised salary scales in 2020 resulting in every employee of the district receiving a pay increase. In addition to this increase, all staff are paid four separate one-time payments in November, February, April and July. We are committed to keeping our excellent and best performing staff members in our district. The school board has supported these efforts by making our compensation model competitive while also increasing the fund balance from 30% to 50%.
Elkhart ISD is recognized by TEA as an “A” District and our campuses have been the Reader’s Choice Best Schools in Anderson County for 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22. Additionally, in 2021-22 the Intermediate campus was recognized as one of the top 131 performing campuses in Texas and poised to become a National Blue-Ribbon School of which only 26 schools are awarded annually.