Brownwood News – “COVID” and “cooperation” were the words of the day today at a joint luncheon hosted by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Early Chamber of Commerce. Education is the traditional topic at the August luncheon, and the crowd was addressed by the Superintendents of the Bangs, Early, and Brownwood Independent School Districts.
Dr. Josh Martin of the Bangs ISD spoke first. Martin is in his first year in Bangs, having moved here from Farmersville in April. He said Bangs’ first day of school on Wednesday was the best first day of school in his career. The students and teachers were all excited to be back in school, having been 165 days since the last day classes were held in the spring. Martin reported that while Bangs is offering online classes, 93% of their students have opted for in-class instruction, which he believes is best. He said the Bangs ISD will try to deal with the COVID safely in all things, but “we will not let this beat us.”
Martin said the nicest surprise in his new job in Bangs is the high level of cooperation between the school districts in Bangs, Brownwood, and Early. He said he has almost daily phone calls with the superintendents in Brownwood and Early about COVID, in-class instruction, on-line instruction, athletics, etc.
Dr. Dewayne Wilkins of the Early ISD spoke next and echoed many of Martin’s remarks. Also in his first year here, Wilkins said he is very pleased with the help and cooperation he gets from the other two superintendents.
He described the cooperation as “We Are Brown County.”
Dr. Wilkins moved here in July, and jokingly talked about how difficult it has been to learn people’s faces and names when everyone is wearing a mask. He also said a new superintendent normally has a vision of great things he wants to accomplish in his new school district. Supplying humor again, he said his vision this year is “Survive COVID.” But he is excited to be here, is looking forward to seeing the students on their first day of school on Monday, and is looking forward to a great year.
Dr. Joe Young of the Brownwood ISD wrapped up the program by also talking about the plans and adjustments they have made for the COVID pandemic, and said the cooperation and coordination between the three school districts has been excellent.
Other points made by Dr. Young:
*** The new budget has included some pay increases and bonuses for teachers
*** The Brownwood ISD provides health insurance and lunches at no charge for staff
*** This year we have added a new Secondary Curriculum Director, a new Instructional Coach, and a Dyslexia teacher
*** In an effort to listen to all stakeholders in the school district, he has implemented advisory groups of parents, teachers, students, and the business community.
*** We have new principals at the High School, Lindsay Smith, and the Middle School, Sandra Richardson
*** Brownwood ISD will again offer dual credit classes at no cost to the student
*** We will again have the MAP program. MAP stands for “Manufacturing Academic Partnership” and is a joint program with Texas State Technical College and 3M Corp. Its goal is to teach the knowledge and skills needed to work in a modern manufacturing environment.
*** New this year, in cooperation with Ranger College, will be a drone aircraft program
*** Brownwood ISD has purchased a new radio system that can be used to communicate with all the campuses in the case of an emergency
*** Brownwood ISD will purchase 800 electronic devices this year to be used in class and for remote learning.