Red Oak ISD rescinds mask mandate

Red Oak, TX - The Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees on Monday voted to rescind its mask mandate. The district had implemented an opt-out mask mandate on Sept. 14 in light of rising COVID-19 numbers in the district.

Superintendent Brenda Sanford said the numbers have decreased sharply, with 0.6% of the district having active cases as of Monday. She said there were six staff members out of 915 that had active cases as of Monday and 40 students out of 6,289.

“Based on this information, it’s already at the forefront of the community’s mind, of the parents’ mind, they made the decision they felt was best for their students,” Sanford said. “I think they’ll continue those decisions because they’ve seen the progress and the results of it.”

brenda sanford

The Texas Attorney General’s Office had previously included several school districts, including Red Oak ISD, on a list of government entities that were “illegally imposing mask mandates” per Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-38. But following the board’s vote to rescind the mandate, the attorney general’s website lists Red Oak ISD as “now in compliance.”

Accelerated instruction program approved

The board also approved the purchase of an accelerated instruction curriculum for students who need intervention in more than one area.

The district will purchase the curriculum from Intervene K-12 at a cost of $155,400. The program will be used for students at Red Oak Middle School in math and reading. Face-to-face accelerated instruction will also be available.

As required by House Bill 4545, districts must provide 30 hours of supplemental instruction to students who did not pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) or the end-of-course exams.

Melissa Sulak, executive director of curriculum and instruction, said the program was on the Texas Education Agency’s high dosage tutoring list.

“The big attraction for this product over some of the others we looked at is that this is a Texas company focused solely on the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills),” Sulak said.

She said money from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds will be used for this program.

Sulak said this is designed to help students in areas they struggled in at a previous grade level.

“What is happening in the classrooms is keeping them on grade level,” she said. “So an eighth-grader is getting eighth-grade curriculum right now. What the 30 hours is designed to do is to go back and fill in the gaps they may have had from sixth or seventh grade.”

Sulak said HB 4545 requires that the 30 extra hours goes toward the content where the student fell short. She said in addition to the TEKS focus, the product also includes a pretest.

Red Oak ISD teachers will be used for the program. Tutoring will take place after school, though Saturday tutorials may be possible.

Sulak said according to data from Intervene K-12, 79% of the students in its programs increased their score from “not meeting standard” to “meeting standard” or above.

Source: Waxahachie Daily Light