Cameron Connection takes next steps to help students

Cameron Connection is taking its next step to find a way to help Cameron ISD students with academic endeavors.

A group of over 20 community members, teachers, parents and business owners from around CISD met on Nov. 28 to discuss topics the community brought to the forefront during four community meetings in September and October.

The district got input from the community during those four meetings that brought several topics up for discussion including mentoring, career and technology training, helping parents help their children, offering English classes for adults, bullying concerns, communication and help with signing up for college testing and applications.

CISD Superintendent Allan Sapp said the goal of the committee is to come up with ideas for how to help students achieve academic goals. He said the focus will be on the district’s mission statement to create a partnership between parents and the community to give the best education to the district’s students.

“We have a great community and people here. We are working on coming together for an academic purpose,” Sapp said. “We want to give our students opportunities because they are our future.”

Sapp said there was a lot of good information gathered from those community meetings held in the fall. That information will help the committee to find a project that will benefit the students of CISD.

CISD School Board President James Burks said that the main goal is to empower students to pursue productive and successful lives. He commented on focusing on preparing our students for life after high school.

Committee members discussed creating a mentoring program for CISD campuses. That could be in the form of mentors who read with younger children, a big brother/big sister program, or a summer program for at-risk students. 

Sapp said a mentoring program came up several different times during the community meetings. He said there have been mentoring programs in the past such as community members reading to students at Ben Milam, but nothing that encompassed the whole district.

Sapp said that anything decided on will need the full scale buy-in of the community to succeed and involvement is needed from everyone.

It was commented that several years ago a mentoring program was in place to have community members who spent time with at-risk students for 30 minutes a week to read or work with students, but that program went by the wayside for unknown reasons.

It was also suggested that there be a big brother/big sister program where the high school students could be paired up with younger students to spend time with them and promote confidence and self-esteem in younger children.

Career and Technology Education was also discussed stressing the need to give hands on experience and teach life skills such as interviewing skills, and filling out applications. 

Preparing students to go out into the workforce ready to work was stressed. It was discussed that not all students are going to attend college and those students that aren’t need to be prepared for the workforce through trade learning such as cosmetology or industrial arts to give students options. Expanding horizons through college trips was also discussed.

Having a program to help with parents who might not know how to fill out college applications, FAFSA forms, scholarships and such was also discussed along with bullying programs and the possibility of offering English classes for Spanish-speaking parents. 

No decisions were made and the committee will meet monthly in the coming months to decide what should be focused on to meet those needs.