Friday, August 04, 2006

The ones who may have been smarter. competition and see who is More qualified.

Community won't know if Bria is the best choice
August 1, 2006

Rochonne Bria has a doctorate degree and 13 years of experience as a superintendent. She's been named superintendent of the year in Arizona and was a finalist in Washington state. With her help and leadership, her current district boasts a lower dropout rate, increased success on state-mandated tests, passed a $100 million bond issue and achieved higher teacher retention rates. When she first started at Battle Ground School District, one board member was suing the district and teachers had a walkout over pay.

She still has managed to get things done in her eight years there.

Bria very well could be the perfect fit for Corpus Christi. But her stellar resume and skills as a mediator may do her very little good. When she arrives here today for her public debut, she'll have her work of schmoozing and swaying the community cut out for her. CCISD made sure of it.

First, she's not from Texas. She comes from a district much smaller than CCISD (Battle Ground serves almost 13,000 students. CCISD has a population of about 40,000.) She's not familiar with the area or its people. And the first time the community heard her name is when the board of trustees announced Friday she was the sole finalist to replace Jesus Chavez as superintendent.

Bria is battling for CCISD's top job with a gaggle of ghosts - the mystery candidates that no one in the community got to meet.

The ones who may have been smarter. Hispanic. More qualified.

According to state regulations, a school district is required only to give public notice of the name or names of finalists being considered for the job 21 days before the board moves to hire them.

Not a bad idea, really, but many districts now use the law to sidestep the public completely. Instead of choosing a few qualified candidates and introducing them to the community to get input (support or opposition), boards narrow the selection process to one - the one person they want to hire.

CCISD, like many districts in Texas, abused the spirit of the law by doing just that.

No one is suggesting the district bypass the law completely. Legislators passed the regulations to allow districts to narrow down the pool of qualified applicants without outside influence and so candidates could apply without fear of repercussions from their own districts.

But CCISD can be different by going against the current grain and allowing the public some choice in the matter once the short list is in hand.

Bria may have a strong grasp of curriculum and instruction. She may understand the challenges of educating various demographics and have the answer to our dropout problem.

Maybe she has bigger and better ideas than any other candidate.

But who knows?

Contact Venessa Santos-Garza at 886-3752

dream of californation~qualified

ccisd bria needs a pop quiz


CCISD employees study up on new curriculum
By adriana Garza Caller-Times
August 2, 2006

Hundreds of Corpus Christi Independent School District teachers, principals and administrators are spending much of this week learning the district's new curriculum at the Superintendent Leadership Conference.

During the past several months, 400 CCISD teachers and administrators spent Saturdays and most of their summer break designing the district's new instruction plan.

Interim Superintendent Scott Elliff said one of the goals of the curriculum realignment is to better prepare students for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

"We want to provide an engaging learning experience for students in our classrooms," Elliff said.

The areas covered by the new curriculum include English, language arts, math, science and social studies.

Teachers will spend time familiarizing themselves with the new curriculum before the start of classes Aug. 14.

The realignment of the curriculum comes three years after a district-wide curriculum audit revealed areas in need of improvement.

CCISD Board President Manuel Flores said the revamping of the district's curriculum is one of the most important things the district has done in 20 years.

"This is what will lead up to where we want to be as a district," Flores said.

Contact Adriana Garza at 886-3618 or HYPERLINK

the test a prerequisite by ccisd parents, aft/local chapter~bria should have the ability to know each one of our schools and be able to name them."

CCISD finalist vows to be visible at campuses
'I plan to be here for as long as you'll have me,' Bria says

By adriana garza Caller-Times
August 3, 2006

Five days after being named the sole finalist for the CCISD superintendent position, Rochonne Bria spent most of Wednesday getting to know the district.

During her first full day in Corpus Christi since the announcement was made, Bria introduced herself to several dozen school administrators and teachers and told them about her long-term plans, including becoming more visible in the district's schools.

She also emphasized her commitment to the Corpus Christi Independent School District and added that, if offered the job, this likely would be her last position as a superintendent.

"I stay in communities and I live there," said Bria, who has served as superintendent of Battle Ground Independent School District in Washington for eight years. "I plan to be here for as long as you'll have me."

She said that stability would contribute to the district's success.

She talked about her background in curriculum and instruction and said she was impressed with the district's new plan, unveiled at the Superintendent Leadership Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bria, 58, began her career 33 years ago in Mesa, Ariz., teaching sixth grade.

She also has taught special education in junior high and high schools in Arizona and worked toward writing curriculum for seventh through 12th grades.

While she is just beginning to familiarize herself with the district and its issues, Bria already knows at least one thing she wants to do if CCISD trustees vote to offer her a contract after the obligatory 21-day negotiation period.

"I want to be in the schools every day," Bria said. "I need to know each one of our schools."

Bria said she plans on allowing time every morning to meet the district's students, teachers and principals. That open line of communication is key to a district's success, she added.

CCISD Board President Manuel Flores said Bria has been well received by the community during her first visit.

"She has proven herself to be very approachable and she has shown that she is eager to learn as much about the district and the city as she can," he said.

CCISD's finalist also met with the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. President Juan Guerra said the union was encouraged after learning of Bria's past experience, especially with minority students.

Bria will return next week to continue her introduction to the community.

CCISD trustees voted 5-2 last week in favor of naming the Washington native as the sole finalist for the district's top job.

The search began in February, after former superintendent Jesus Chavez left the district to become the superintendent of Round Rock Independent School District.

Contact Adriana Garza at 886-3618 or HYPERLINK