Marlin schools trying to change culture of school and community - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

MARLIN

Marlin schools trying to change culture of school and community

MARLIN, TX (KXXV) - After years of self-proclaimed under-performing, Marlin ISD has brought in a program to change the culture for its students and adults.

 Marlin Elementary principal Wesley Brown says a couples years ago, there was a "institutionalized culture of low expectations" in the district. He says teachers, who have since left, parents and students didn't have an expectation to succeed.

"There was kind of a mindset with even teachers at the time, those teachers are no longer with us that this is Marlin, this has always been Marlin. This will always be Marlin," Brown said. 

Brown says he knew he need to do something after talking with a second grader in the hallway. 

"At that age most students really dream big. I'm going to be an astronaut, I'm going to be a movie star or I'm going to be a surgeon or something like that. And the student thought for a while and what she came up with was working at one of our local fast food restaurants," Brown said. 

So he's brought in a program to change that culture in not only the school but the community. It's called No Excuses University and it brings colleges to students in the school. By integrating schools and their traditions to elementary kids in their early age, students would expect to go to college.

"A lot of people think well that's what these kids need they need no excuses. But in reality the no excuses is not for the students, it's for the adults," Brown said. 

Brown brought in the program in 2013, but they weren't officially initiated into the national program until July. He says No Excuses University focuses on math, reading and writing and Brown says tests in those areas have shown improvement. 

The way the program brings universities into the school is each grade has a school conference like SEC or the Big 12. Then each teacher chooses a school and then decorates their classroom in that school's paraphernalia. Then students learn about the school's traditions and teachers incorporate that school into questions on tests throughout the year. 

"Really kind of to open the eyes of the kids to college," Brown said. "To get out of poverty, education is the answer and so to help our students get out of poverty they have to go to college."

The program also reaches out to parents as well. Once a month they have a parents workshop to teach parents how to teach their kids. One workshop even taught parents how to make cheap crock-pot meals. 

"I don't think the trust was always there and I think now the parents trust the school more they see they have the children's best interest at heart," Marlin Elementary parent Tamika Washington said. 

Washington's fourth grade son says before the program, the school was crazy. However, now he says it's better. His class adopted Arkansas University and he says he's already made plans to go there to be a veterinarian. He says he's most looking forward to the classes.

"Because I'm just probably a nerd, I love school," Jacobi Washington said. 

Brown says they're working to partner with Texas A&M University to have some of their students come and help teach at the school. He also says they hope to bring "No Excuses" into the middle and high schools at Marlin ISD. Those schools will incorporate community colleges and the military with the program. 

To learn more about No Excuses University and where it's being used in other schools across the nation, click here.
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