PREMONT, Texas — Premont Independent School District is showing “No Data to Report” on the districts Fall submission to the Texas Education Agency, according to district superintendent Steve VanMatre.
That means every student in the district is accounted for, whether they are attending classes in-person, virtually, transitioned to homeschooling, or have transferred out of the district. According to VanMatre, nearly 3% of Texas students are typically unaccounted for.
The effort to make sure every student is accounted for was spearheaded by district employees checking in with students regularly, and making sure they have what they need to succeed.
“The fact that we have zero, it really means that our registrars, our PEIMS clerks, our parent liaison, are wonderful in terms of keeping track of students,” said Premont High School principal Claudette Garcia.
The relationship fostered between the district and the community makes it easier for district employees to continue to check in with students and their parents.
“I think one of the most important things for Premont ISD is having that close relationship with the parents, and the parents knowing that they can always come to us with anything that they’re wanting to talk about, something that they’re needing. Our school district is very good at providing many resources for our parents and the community,” said parent liaison Lilly Rodriguez.
Rodriguez frequently checks in with students and parents to make sure they have what they need.
“One of the things I do is I make phone calls a lot, just to let them know we’re here, we’re looking out for them, thinking about them always,” she said.
“As a parent of two children doing virtual learning, you don’t always know what they’re doing online. So, it’s good because they let you know what your children are doing, and they’re always keeping up with them,” said Yvette Gutierrez, the mother of two Premont High School students.
“One of mine was missing too many days because she had a lot of doctors appointments. Ms. Garcia and Lilly showed up to my house to talk to her, to let her know she needed to be in class, doing her work; not missing, because then you wouldn’t get credit for the day.”
Rodriguez has a great relationship with parents in the district, being the mother of a Premont student herself.
“She actually cares about your children, and whatever they need to get them in school, or to keep them at home, she’s willing to help you with,” Gutierrez said. “You feel warm and welcome with her. It’s nice that somebody isn’t coming to your house, and right away you feel antagonized.”
Rodriguez gives credit to her fellow district employees, and said it's a team effort to make the district successful.
“The staff here is wonderful. One of us is always ready and willing to go out into the community and see how can we help. We want the kids here, we want them logged on, whatever it is, they lack, we’re going to make sure what it is they need to be successful,” Rodriguez said. “It takes a lot of effort to make sure our kids are accounted for, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle.”
During the 2020-21 school year, making sure students have everything they need is a challenge, but it is important for the district to make every effort so that its students can be set up for success.
“Making sure that we have those open lines of communication is important, especially now in the virtual world, so that our kids are getting the education they need even despite the challenges we have right now,” Garcia said.
VanMatre said unaccounted for students translates to lost instructional time and funding for schools. With the TEA report, Premont ISD has a clearer picture to how much state funding it will receive for the 2021-22 school year.
“As long as they are coming to school, or logging in virtually, we should be able to forecast what our funds should be for next year,” Garcia said.