Kilgore Independent School District's debate on the possible implementation of CSCOPE continued Monday evening when members of the board discussed the curriculum tool.
"No one's made a decision on what we're doing and where we're going," said Cara Cooke, KISD superintendent.
Cooke has experience working with the program from when she was assistant superintendent at West Oso ISD.
"There are some good things about CSCOPE," she sad. "Are there things wrong with it? Yes, but we can make tweaks."
Members of the board of trustees were presented with two options to dwell on, try CSCOPE or design a curriculum completely in-house for the next school year. At last week's public meeting on CSCOPE, parents and community members expressed concern about how strictly teachers might have to follow the curriculum tool.
"Our teachers can use CSCOPE and build a schedule," said Zeverly Hatcher, KISD curriculum director. "The problem is, what do they teach and how?"
Parents also raised concern over CSCOPE content. In February, stories and pictures showed up on the internet – pictures of a number of female Lumberton ISD students wearing burqas, Islamic attire. Early reports pointed fingers at the lesson being taken from CSCOPE, yet on Feb. 25, Lumberton ISD released a statement stating that the lesson and use of burqas were not related to CSCOPE.
Furthermore, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott has decided to investigate CSCOPE.
"The CSCOPE documents, or our own, are just a piece of what needs to be done," Cooke said.
Deputy superintendent Dennis Williams broke down the annual costs of CSCOPE. The first year of the program would cost $33,957. Each subsequent year would come up to $30,207. Without CSCOPE, KISD is looking at $51,294 yearly to develop and maintain a curriculum.
Trustee Terry George noted that implementing CSCOPE alone wouldn't address improvement between subpopulations of students.
"If we do this, it wouldn't necessarily address the subpopulations," he said. "That has to be addressed by the schools, by the teachers.
Board president Janet Marley shares similar concerns that residents expressed last week – the risk of losing curriculum control.
"I want local control," she said. "I'm afraid of losing that."
Fellow trustee Scott Montgomery shared similar thoughts.
"I like the local approach, if we can pull it off," he said. "It's a system we can always control if something needs to be changed."
Trustee Jimmy Kinsey saw potential in making use of the CSCOPE, citing the structured, linear learning curve it could provide for students.
"Our students would be learning vertically," he said.
"It's important we make a good decision and we make it soon," said John Slagle, trustee.
Slagle noted that it is indeed possible for KISD to lose control of curriculum to Texas Education Association, should the district lag behind state standards. The school's grade standard is divided by subpopulations of students based on race and family income; whichever subpopulation scores the lowest in a year is the grade the district receives.
"They won't care about our culture," Slagle said. "They will tell us what to teach, right or wrong."