La Joya ISD went from an “A” to a “B” in this year’s F.I.R.S.T. report for 2017-2018.
Before the La Joya Independent School District’s regularly called board of trustees meeting, the district held a public meeting to hear the state Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (F.I.R.S.T) report from Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Finance Alfredo Vela.
The purpose of these reports, conducted annually by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), is to provide a financial accountability rating system which “ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices,” according to the agency website. With these ratings, school districts are given an analysis on how to facilitate an effective and efficient use of resources.
Last year, LJISD scored a 92 overall, earning a “superior” rating of an “A.” This year, LJISD received an 86, earning an “above standard” rating of a “B.”
According to Vela, the F.I.R.S.T. report utilizes a certain number of indicators that the district answers “yes” or “no” to, and then gives more pertinent information that is scored with numerical figures. The data for this report was for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2017.
During the regular school board meeting, Library Services and Instructional Resources Director Alma Salinas spoke about the district’s use of “Libraries on Wheels,” where Quick Response (QR) Codes are available for students to scan so they can read digital books associated with each code displayed inside buses.
LJISD aims to implement 100 Libraries on Wheels, and currently has 70.
“As a librarian, it is my responsibility to facilitate and ensure that all students have all required resources to be academically successful, and have access to a diverse number of books from all subject areas,” Salinas said. “In short, my job is to ensure that books are everywhere and in every form possible.”
These eBooks promote early and increased literacy in students.
“This academic year, it has been my personal goal to impact our community of learners in active curiosity, elevating their potential to learn and embracing lifelong learning by providing reading to every moment of their learning day and full access,” Salinas said. “Now students in middle school and high school can ride in a Library on Wheels, where they have a choice of an array of eBooks that can be downloaded using a QR Code to their own or school-assigned electronic device, and enjoy reading in their leisure time.”
The three principals of La Joya High School, Juarez-Lincoln High School and Palmview High School also presented their campus plans to improve the overall letter grade and distinction designations in the TEA 2019 ratings and distinctions.
This year, LJISD received an overall letter grade of a “B,” and over several school board meetings have listened to several principals at the primary and secondary levels give presentations on their campus plans.