BSISD hires outside firm to help with test scores

Big Spring Independent School District is bringing in outside help in an effort to boost student test scores.BSISD trustees approved an $187,000 contract with Lead Your School, a private organization of “teacher coaches,” during their monthly meeting Thursday evening.This is the latest of several steps the district is taking to remove the stigma of “academically unacceptable” state accountability ratings levied by the Texas Education Agency three years ago.Sean Cain of LYS said the organization brings in former principals, assistant superintendents and superintendents to “coach” teachers on how they can improve student performance in the classroom.The group has already been working with teachers at Big Spring High School this past school year and initial results were encouraging, officials said.“They are here in an effort to put us all on the same page … and make sure we're using the best teaching practices we can,” BSJH Principal Dalia Benavides said.During the coming school year, LYS will have its coaches on one BSISD campus or another for roughly 130 of the 177 instruction days, Cain said.The coaches will mainly work with teachers through frequent observation of their work in the classroom, then suggesting improvements, he added.The organization works on the belief that “adult practices drive student performance” — in other words, if teachers can maximize their work in the classroom, student progress will invariably follow.“What every school district should concentrate on is, 'What does good instruction look like, how do we recognize it and how do we replicate it?'” Cain said. “Our main goal will be to try to get people focused on what's working on our campuses.”