BEAUMONT, Texas — It is no secret that schools in Southeast Texas have struggled during the pandemic. This year, Beaumont Independent School District is hoping a new partnership will help bring some middle schoolers back up to speed.
Life at Martin Luther King Middle School is going to be a little different this fall. The Green Dot Public School Charter program is taking point, and they are bringing along some new expectations.
Test scores dropping by double digits during the age of COVID-19 is not the news Beaumont ISD leaders wanted to hear. Those low scores will translate into big changes for King Middle School.
"This is an F rated school, and within a short three years, this needs to be a C or better rated school," said Chad Soleo, CEO of Green Dot Public Schools.
This Fall, Green Dot Public Schools will be partnering with King Middle School. Although Soleo admits it may be a challenge, it is one he believes can be overcome.
"And that's the challenge, not one that we're not used to,” Soleo said. “We can grow kids two years a year. We can catch them up, and that's what we're looking forward to doing here."
Green Dot will be spending the next few weeks prepping teachers for the big year ahead.
"Make sure our team is structured well, make sure we’re organized, and make sure were also prepared,” said Special Education Teacher, Abel Martinez. “It's only been two days but I feel like I’ve had so much information and so much team building."
Abraham Puente is the father of an incoming sixth grader at King Middle School.
He said there has been an added excitement for the return to school this year.
"Face-to-face with the teachers in the room, because it's not like just being at home, and online it's very different they learn but they don't learn the same," Puente said.
Principal Julia Rich will be sending her own children to King Middle School.
"I don’t believe in leading somewhere where I can't put my own children," Rich said. "I just don't take this work lightly, and my personal philosophy is that every child can be successful."
King Middle School will be offering open enrollment to all sixth through eight grade students living in Beaumont.
A service day will be hosted August 7 for parents and students to meet the new staff and prepare for the upcoming year.
The district is also investing in a new innovative academic program designed to put all students on the path to college. Students will have 85 minutes of math and ELA daily.
District leaders have also invested in corresponding internal assessments, new novels and materials, and more chrome books.
More than a third of teachers are returning back to Beaumont ISD classrooms, which is important for the district's continuity. The district is still hiring for other key roles on their website.