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Rural school implements changes that align with task force recommendations to TEA

Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:46-04

The Moody Independent School District is implementing some new initiatives that were part of improvement areas the Texas Rural Schools Task Force highlighted in a recent report to the Texas Education Agency.

The task force was comprised of 20 superintendents for rural districts, including Moody ISD superintendent Gary Martel. 

The report, which was developed by the superintendents selected and feedback from regional forums, provided recommendations in areas such as teacher recruitment, teacher retention, resource allocation and parent and community engagement. Those recommendations were shared with the Texas Commissioner of Education.

Before the report was released, Moody ISD implemented a compensation plan for the next school year that would increase new and existing teachers' salaries. Martel said the report enhanced the district's initiatives but investing in teachers for at least 10 months.

"We've made it a priority, an initiative to value our teachers. It's the one thing that has helped us retain and recruit a few,” Martel said.

Beth Alton, who has been a teacher at Moody ISD for 33 years, welcomes the pay raise. She said in the past 13 years she has not received one.

"I wasn't going to get up and go somewhere. This is my home so to keep me here. It just makes me feel appreciate it. That those with experience were worth giving some extra money too,” Alton said.

Alton, who grew up in Moody, said she has enjoyed teaching at the district.

“I wanted to do something for my community to try to improve my community,” Alton said.

In addition, the district plans to add courses that were not offered before, such as robotics and a healthcare academy.

Sarah Troyer, who is a Moody ISD, counselor said these courses allows Moody ISD students to have the same opportunities as students in larger districts.

"We want our students to be able to leave school with some certificates, some certifications to be able to get a good job, or to give them a leg up when they are applying for a nursing program or to have some employability skills,” Troyer said.

Providing support for rural schools that offer career and technology courses was also a recommendation the task force gave to the TEA.

The TEA presented the report to legislators recently who would ultimately decide whether they would be able to fund some of those initiatives.

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