The well-being of a district is measured utilizing many factors. Some of the factors include but are not limited to teacher turnover rate, compensation, climate surveys, STAAR results, attendance rates, truth, clarity, honesty, accuracy, fairness and other factors. Below, you will find data from the Texas Education Agency website that puts in perspective the current status of Seguin ISD.

During the past two-and-a-half years under Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez’s leadership, Seguin ISD has had the highest teacher turnover rate (since 2013) at 22.6% (state’s average is 16.5%).

From my perspective based on data, this teacher turnover rate along with the revolving door of “new” methods/programs mandated by Superintendent Gutierrez have resulted in academic achievement declines.

The average salaries for Seguin ISD teachers (regular duties only) is $1,136 less than the state average. The average salaries for Seguin ISD central office personnel (regular duties only) is $15,686 higher than the state average. According to the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), the number of Seguin ISD teachers has been on the decline. In 2011, the district reported about 526 teachers as compared to 464 during the 2018-2019 school year. This is a net loss of 62 teachers. Keep in mind that the number of students has remained practically the same. Many of these teachers were lost during years when state funding decreased. Some districts kept their same number of teachers; others built their way up and restored the number of teachers; while still others like Seguin ISD have not increased their number of teachers. I acknowledge and thank the faculties, principals and staff (those who remain as well as those who have left the district) for continuing to positively influence and mold the lives of our Seguin ISD students. They continue to be the silent heroes who grow, encourage and educate all students on a daily basis.

In May of 2019, district personnel and campus faculties and staff completed the yearly Climate Surveys. When comparing 2019 to 2018, the respondents expressed that the “Quality of Education” in Seguin ISD had decreased by 10%. The district climate survey also indicated a decrease in every domain: Dimension Scores - Academic Support, Student Support, School Leadership, Family Engagement and Safety & Behavior.

According to the TAPR 2018-2019, Seguin ISD reports significant declines in some of the STAAR subject areas. Specifically, in the “All Grades All Subjects” category, there was a decline of 2%; in the “Approaches Grade Level or Above,” there was a decline of 3%; and in the “At Masters Grade Level,” there was a decline of 1%. Additional, TEA reports that Seguin ISD received a 58 (“F”) in the area of “Academic Growth” and a 61 (“D”) in “Closing the Gaps.”

Regarding the attendance rate which is always one year behind, the TAPR reports that Seguin ISD’s attendance rate in 2016-2017 was 93.3% as compared to the state’s 95.7%. In 2017-2018, the attendance rate was 93.0% as compared to the state’s 95.4%.

I encourage all parents/guardians to stay vigilant, ask questions, participate in school activities and constantly review his/her child’s academic achievement progress. Most of all, ensure you are doing your part by making sure your child is punctual, attends school every day and by providing a space where your child can do his/her homework. If you have any questions or concerns, address these with your child’s teacher and/or school principal.

Openness, accountability and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government’s obligation to share information with citizens. This is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.

For additional information, visit my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ItTakesAVillageSeguin/ .

Vickie De La Rosa is a retired educator who lives in Seguin.

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(5) comments

Cjohnthompson@yahoo.com

I wondered why the current report card statuses for Sequin that references the achievement gap and the failing schools did not come up in the community forums in Madison last week. I wonder if the community there knows this because there was only positive past experiences discussed regarding teacher attrition while the Supt. Was on stage at the forum.

Shepard

Good Lord! I’m totally floored by this revelation!

Poor grades? High teacher turnover? Large admin with higher cost? But I’ve a great new multimillion dollar school! I’m adding another multimillion dollar stadium!

Where are the educational improvements and increase in both grades and student knowledge retention?

As I said when Seguin voted for a massive bond for the ‘One Huge New School’, there’s more to a ‘School’ than a building.

Having voted for the new members on the school board, I’m hoping that they will take a more active role this spring to make visible palpable changes in the situation.

The time for being nice is over. Maybe it’s time for the district to choose a business or project manager for a Superintendent. The engagement of such a person for a set 2 year term would not be a bad idea, as it appears we are getting nowhere with the ‘Education majors’......

Shepard

Maybe this topic is one of my Top 20, but I am a little disappointed that more people don’t comment on Mrs. De La Rosa’s well written letter.

The more that people comment, take notice, discuss with their neighbors, the higher the chance that some change may be made to improve our district.

If you are reading this, please write a comment, however brief, in order to put the public’s opinion on record.

Dldmny

Shepard, I view the reason that people fail to comment on important matters has two causes. First of all, is the fact that such detailed insight is rarely accessible to them. Secondly, and equally important, is the belief that comments pro/con, will not make a difference.

Shepard

I agree wholeheartedly with your statement, but am disappointed. It is critical that people of reason discuss and debate every issue so that we can progress as a people. I find that many, including some I disagree with, have opinions that have great value, but do not air them.

We as a community, both local and nationally, have to listen to the strident voices of the political far left and right, loud and incessant, while those of us considered centrists are drowned out.

I hope that people will get more involved, especially the center, as that allows for positive change without the radical swings.

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