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Education

Edgewood ISD Town Halls Put Focus On A Bright Future

Edgewood ISD parents and community members grab breakfast tacos before a town hall May 31, 2018.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio
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Edgewood ISD parents and community members grab breakfast tacos before a town hall Thursday morning.

School officials at the Edgewood Independent School District said positive changes are coming to the district, including more specialized programming to attract students and improve academic outcomes.

Like many districts in Bexar County, Edgewood said it is losing students to charter schools.“Like many of you, Edgewood is very dear to my heart,” said Stella Camacho, secretary of the district’s board of managers, at a community meeting Thursday morning. “Changes are coming and changes are happening. For some of us, they’re happening too fast, for some of us they’re not happening (quickly) enough. But remember this is a very vital point for our students.”

Edgewood is holding a second town hall Thursday evening at 6. The meetings are intended to answer questions raised by parents and community members in April.

Camacho and fellow board member Timothy Paine both spoke at the morning meeting, highlighting the district’s move towards specialized programs and schools that can prepare students to enter the workforce.

“In the years to come, we are going to look at a list — a waiting list of children’s names whose parents are anxious to get their children into our district for the education,” Camacho said.

Edgewood ISD board secretary Stella Camacho speaks to parents and community members at a breakfast town hall May 30, 2018.
Credit Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio
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Edgewood ISD board secretary Stella Camacho speaks to parents and community members at a breakfast town hall Thursday.

According to district administrators Theresa Salinas and Angela Dominguez, Edgewood currently has four “campuses of innovation,” a state designation that gives schools greater flexibility with scheduling and programming.

Cisneros Elementary, Edgewood Fine Arts Academy, Kennedy High School and Memorial High School will be open to anyone in the district, and also opened to students who live outside the district.

Each school has different course offerings, ranging from cyber security to culinary arts.

District officials said that Edgewood is joining a Texas Education Agency program that emphasizes school choice and autonomy, called System of Great Schools. San Antonio ISD and South San Antonio ISD are already in the program.

Both Paine and Camacho also mentioned Edgewood having a negative reputation, and that it was time to move on.

“If someone brings you negative stuff, say ‘I don’t want to hear it.’ You can’t grow with the negative stuff because it weighs you down,” Paine said.

Angelita Garcia, who has three children in Edgewood schools, said she appreciated their positive focus.

“It’s a start of making changes and removing the stigma from ‘Edgewood is bad.’ Edgewood is not bad. We are coming along, and we are doing a lot of great things, and I think the community should be aware of what’s being done,” Garcia said.

Edgewood has experienced unstable leadership in recent years, leading to the formation of the state-appointed board in 2016. In March, the district’s superintendent resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment.

But academically, the district has shown progress. All of Edgewood’s schools met state accountability standards last year.

The board is less than a month away from hiring a new superintendent. Managers selected Eduardo Hernandez as the sole finalist last week, and are slated to offer him a contract on June 19.

Hernandez is currently the chief academic officer of Duncanville ISD in Dallas County.

Camille Phillips can be reached at camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille