NZISD invests into its future

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NORTH ZULCH — North Zulch ISD held a community meeting on July 25 to introduce the new superintendent, explain new policies and discuss last year’s STARR test preliminary results.

The assembly was presented by Alan and Lea Ann Andrus, superintendent and curriculum director of NZISD, respectively. The Andruses are new to the NZISD team, joining in May, but are not new to the community, as both graduated from North Zulch High School.

Alan explained how his past experiences in education would benefit NZISD — he has worked in large 5A schools, Willis High School, and small rural 2A districts, West-Hardin CCISD.

He also discussed changes he will be implementing throughout NZISD, with student’s safety a major priority for the district. For instance, he said North Zulch bus driver’s will now have a smart phone equipped with an app that will immediately notify parents if there is a problem, such as a wreck or delay.

North Zulch also will have staff and faculty members attend ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Training in August, he said. According to the website, ALICE Training will “provide preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.”

The district has created and will be employing a code of conduct, and will include consistent consequences for misbehavior, he said.

When going through the preliminary STARR Test results, the superintendent said, “we have some work to do.” He told parents he has taken worse situations in other school districts and turned them around.

Alan explained that the best way to improve scores is to have teachers attend training courses that focus on TEKS (Texas Essential knowledge and skills). He proved his point by showing how a teacher at his last district went from a mid-50 percent STARR test passing rate to more than 90 percent after attending a summer training class.

Lea Ann Andrus discussed changes in teaching styles this year, and the professional development training courses the teachers attended this summer.

She said a big part of the new strategy for this year is student intervention, which is helping students that are lagging in a subject reach grade-level proficiency. The district has invested in highly regarded computer programs to assistant in student intervention.

North Zulch teachers attended 35 professional development training courses over the summer, she said. The classes attended covered all subjects, and will be effective in getting all teachers TEKS aligned. Today, the district will also have a group of teachers from West-Hardin visit the school to teach North Zulch faculty on how to conduct literacy and math work stations. The work stations help the students learn new material, while also reaffirming previous lessons.

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