MCISD discusses Tom Landry Stadium and gifted and talented services

This article contained an error when printed. The project being discussed in the Facilities/Environment Meeting was for Tom Landry Stadium itself, not the scoreboard. It has been corrected to reflect the proper item on the agenda.

This week the Mission Consolidated Independent School District met for three committee meetings leading up to next week’s regular board of trustees meeting. Administration, members of the board present and Superintendent Dr. Carol Perez discussed items that will impact the gifted and talented services and the Tom Landry Stadium.

Transforming Teaching and Learning Committee

John Hill, the Director for Advanced Academics at MCISD, presented how the district plans to implement the new state plan for Gifted and Talented Services. Gifted and talented students are children/youth who perform at or shows the potential for performing at a high level of accomplishment when compared to others with the same age, experience and environment.

Hill said gifted and talented students exhibit high performance capability in an intellectual/creative artistic area, possess an unusual capacity for leadership or excels in a specific academic field.

“It’s not necessarily the performance that makes a child gifted, it’s that potential,” Hill said, noting that there is a difference between high-achieving students and gifted students. “A high-achieving student will excel at an assignment pretty much no matter what. They’ll knock it out of the park because that’s what they’re good at. A gifted student might look at that assignment and say ‘why am I going to do it the same way the teacher told me to? Let me try this…’ And then they get distracted.”

Hill said that divergent thinking and creativity is coming into play, and sometimes it comes at a cost because they might not always arrive at the correct answer. He added that gifted students sometimes even make an assignment more challenging because they are looking for a different way to do things.

The state goal for gifted and talented students can demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research and communication, and will develop innovative products and performances reflecting their individuality and creativity advanced to those comparable to them. High school graduates who have participated in gifted and talented services will make “projects and performances of professional quality as part of their program’s services.”

MCISD aims to provide these services so students can achieve when they get to high school and beyond. Currently MCISD provides services such as curriculum enrichment, teacher resources, professional learning communities (PLCs), identification and testing, GT training, Texas Performance Standards Project, Duke TIP and extracurricular activities such as Destination Imagination, Science Bowl, Math Counts and the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA).

At MCISD a student can be tested for the GT program as many times as they want, and once they are classified as gifted they will stay in the program unless their parent wishes to remove them.

The new state plan mostly follows the former state plan, but level descriptors changed from “in compliance” to “recommended,” and “exemplary” to “accountability” and “exemplary.” Hill said MCISD won’t have to change much from their current program because they are already meeting requirements, and most of the changes involve moving activities that used to be “recommended” to “in compliance.”

The new state plan must be implemented fully by 2022-2023.

Facilities/Environment Committee

Ricardo Rivera, the Executive Director for Facilities, Maintenance and Construction, discussed what the next steps for the Tom Landry Stadium will be.

Last fall, the district entered into a contract with Hinojosa Engineering, Inc. to do an assessment of the stadium. Rivera said he, Dr. Perez, representatives from the firm and administration met to discuss the status of the assessment last week.

The firm contracted Millennium Engineering to do a forensic evaluation of the piers, and they plan to do a radar scanning of all the piers to see if there was still proper bonding. For a preliminary test they looked at one pier (out of 156), and Rivera said it did show there was “too much space between the rebar and the anchor bolts.” The firm wants to do a forensic scan for this reason.

At this time, Rivera said MCISD is only going to do a scan on half of the piers and see how the results come in before presenting to the committee and seeing if they can do the other half. For all 156 piers to be tested, it will cost $56,000.

“According to the plans and specs there’s a minimum of four inches that there should be between the anchor bolts and the rebar,” Rivera said. “On the only one [pier] that they checked, there was a seven-inch difference, a gap. When that happens, if they sway, that’s going to be the breaking point.”

This article originally appeared in the Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 issue of the Progress Times.

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