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School district researching random drug testing

By Lark Jarvis
of the San Jacinto News-Times

High-achieving students Tionna Bennett and Lucien Butler led pledges to the US and Texas flag and opened October’s Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District (COCISD) board meeting. Superintendant Leland Moore recognized teacher Matthew Richey for outstanding professional conduct working with a disabled student. Moore also commended student Darren Muirhead for turning in a $20 bill he found at the concession stand.

Moore said that the individuals responsible for a recent break-in at Coldspring-Oakhurst High School have been apprehended and are now being held without bail in the San Jacinto County jail.

According to district business manager Adam Jenke, the district has earned a Superior rating from Texas’ Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The rating system assesses school districts’ financial accountability. Ideally, a district uses as much of every dollar as possible for direct instructional purposes. The Superior rating is the highest rating that FIRST gives.

The board approved as presented state-required Targeted Improvement Plans for the intermediate school and the junior high. Student achievement scores at the junior high were at 58 percent, and fell short of the state required 60 percent. Students were deficient in social studies, math, and science. A Professional Service Provider (PSP) will meet monthly with instructors to work on strategies for addressing these deficiencies.

The district is purchasing a 77-passenger Bluebird school bus, which will be equipped with radio and cameras. District drivers have given Bluebird buses the highest reviews for safety and visibility.

After researching other local districts’ drug policies, Superintendent Moore has made recommendations to the district’s legal team. These recommendations will be on November’s board meeting agenda. If Moore’s recommendations are implemented, being enrolled in extracurricular activities or having a campus parking permit would make a student eligible for random drug testing. These random tests would occur seven times per year and each time, test 20 random students from the above-named group. Board president Barbara Moore requested data on how many students involved in extracurricular activities have been caught by the district’s canine drug searches.

Because he has noticed facilities in the district that are in need of maintenance and improvement, Superintendent Moore also recommended that each principal submit the names of faculty and staff to serve on a facility study committee. The visitors’ stands and the junior high changing rooms are in need of work. A committee of 12-15 people will take a thorough tour of the entire district’s facilities to see what other work is needed.

Campus Reports:

High School
The high school band will compete in UIL marching contest this week in The Woodlands. Students will hold a Veteran’s Day Dinner honoring veterans the night before Veteran’s Day.
Lincoln Junior High
The junior high recently held its first Open House of the year.
_Heart Shaped Cookies_ author David Rice visited campus and spoke to 6th graders. Rice, who comes from a small town in the Rio Grande Valley, writes fiction filled with characters that are based on his youth. Though his last name is Anglo—his father was adopted by an Anglo ranch owner—Rice is Mexican American, and he feels compelled to fill his books with characters based on the people he grew up around. Sixth graders were excited to meet a published author.
Intermediate School
The Intermediate School will have a Thanksgiving Lunch.
Elementary School
The Elementary School will hold its first annual Turkey Trot on Nov. 18. Students in each grade will have relay races scheduled throughout the day.