CCISD holds first State of the District since 2019
By BRITTANY FHOLER
After a two-year hiatus, the annual Copperas Cove Independent School District’s State of the District returned Wednesday morning at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.
Hundreds attended the luncheon event to hear from Superintendent Joe Burns about the status of the district and its 8,000-plus students.
The master of ceremonies for the State of the District was 2019 Central Texas Incredible Kid Alyssa Kimball. 2019 TEA Student Hero Noah Spitzer and his sister, Romella, who was the 2020 TEA Student Hero, led the crowd in the state and national pledges. The Martin Walker Treblemakers sang several songs as people stood in line for the lunch catered by Giovanni’s. The CCHS Voices of Cove sang the National Anthem, and the CCHS JROTC Bulldog Battalion posted the colors.
One guest speaker was 2nd LT Lawrence Davis, with the 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the Fort Hood Adopted Unit of the Year.
Davis spoke briefly about what his unit had done so far this school year at their adopted school, Martin Walker Elementary. Going month by month, Davis shared how soldiers welcomed students back to school on the first day of school and came back again in September and every month after, minus January.
For the month of October, the soldiers helped decorate the school with anti-bullying messages and messages of positivity for Anti-Bullying Month.
“Soldiers even blew up and hung balloons while also chalking phrases on the sidewalk to assist and spreading positivity,” Davis said. “That day, we learned that the easiest way to make a positive impact on the students was to show up en masse to reinforce the anti-bullying message of the Copperas Cove ISD administration.”
Superintendent Burns then took to the stage and entertained the crowd of former and current educators, district support staff, business owners, community partners and more with a few jokes before touching on the mission and vision of CCISD.
“One of the things that I think is unique about our mission is that we want to see young people succeed academically,” Burns said. “We want to see them succeed in their personal lives, we want them to be responsible citizens. We want them to be good neighbors, moms and dads always, all those things. So our efforts are focused on those kinds of things.”
Burns mentioned the different pillars of the district’s strategic plan “Vision 2024”: instruction support, human capital, the whole child, facilities and stakeholder engagement.
The strategic plan was refined starting last summer, with the help and input of more than 100 community members and partner.
“We now are not focused on teaching and learning, but we’re focused on instruction and support,” Burns said. “How do we help teachers be better? Not just how do we teach kids better, but how do we help teachers be better in that process?”
Burns said the district is also focused on recruiting the right people, referring to the pillar of human capital.
As far as community partnerships, the district also presented awards to several community businesses and organizations for their role in supporting the school district and students.
Those businesses and organizations include the Copperas Cove Wal-Mart, the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus!, Altrusa International of Copperas Cove, Cinergy Cinemas, the Copperas Cove Retired Teachers Association, Chick-fil-A,VFW Post #8577, the Copperas Cove Education Foundation, Mount Sinai Chapter #42, the Copperas Cove Rotary Club and the Copperas Cove Optimist Club.
Burns moved on to focus on bragging about the success of Copperas Cove ISD students, especially compared to the state averages and regional averages.
CCISD teachers provide more than 750,000 hours of instruction directly to students each and every year, and teachers attended more than 1,000 different workshops in the summer, Burns said.
Copperas Cove ISD has ranked above the state average for Five and Six Year Graduation Rates and for Special Education Graduation Rates, as well as for the students for passed the TSI in math. CCISD also scored above the state average for the percentage of graduates who have completed a CTE coherent sequence of courses. CCISD exceeds the state average of special education students to graduate under an advanced degree plan. The district also exceeds the state average in SAT results for math and for English Language Arts and Reading.
In addition to 103 dual credit courses offered, CCISD has partnered with Central Texas College to offer 92 additional courses to students in the Early College program, and the district is looking to increase that number.
Burns jokingly referred to nearby school districts in Killeen, Belton, Temple and Salado as “East Copperas Cove.
“They’re just zoned differently,” he joked before sharing that Copperas Cove ISD has outperformed the region in nearly all areas of state mandated assessments. Copperas Cove ISD is part of Education Service Center Region 12, which is made up of 77 school districts and 11 charter schools in 13 counties.
“If you want to talk about a quality education, you’ve got to go West to get the best, and you got to come to Copperas Cove to get it,” Burns said.
Copperas Cove ISD also saw gains in academic performance of 14 and 15 percent on some elementary campuses despite the pandemic.
“You had campuses that lost and districts that lost 35 percentage points of academics, and we have campuses gaining 14 and 15 percent,” Burns said. “It’s a tribute to the teachers who are in the classroom, the leadership that’s on campus, and then those folks at the district office who help.”
Burns also touched on the district’s facilities. CCISD custodians clean 19,000 square feet daily, and the district’s maintenance staff work diligently to maintain the district’s 11 campuses and three support facilities. By the time construction is complete, there will be more than two million square feet of facilities to be maintained.
Burns went on to share a tidbit of praise for each campus before concluding his speech with a hearty thank you to the “village” that is the businesses and community members of Copperas Cove who come together to support the more than 8,000 students in Copperas Cove Independent School District.