Weatherford ISD board of trustees approved a memorandum of understanding with Tarleton State University for automatic acceptance of all WISD students who graduate within the top 25% of their classes from Weatherford High School during a special meeting on Monday.
The students who receive automatic admission will also not have to submit SAT or ACT test scores. Other terms of the agreement are that TSU will waive the admissions application fee for all WISD students who meet the criteria; students who qualify for TSU’s Guaranteed Award Program will get $1,000 more if they are in the top 10% of their class or $500 more if they graduate in the top 25% but under the top 10%; TSU will provide ongoing support at WHS, such as financial aid, admissions, degree counseling, work study mentorships and peer mentoring; WISD will promote the availability of the opportunities at Tarleton to students.
“We’re very excited to be able to bring to the district the partnership with Tarleton State University Memorandum of Understanding that will allow Weatherford High School students in the top 25% to have access to Tarleton State University and programs that they offer as well as some financial assistance with that,” Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said.
So far, TSU has partnered with seven school districts and WISD is the largest so far, TSU President James Hurley said.
“We can’t offer this partnership to every single ISD across the state,” Hurley said. “We want a strategic partnership with those ISDs that have been great partners to Tarleton. Here’s what we statistically know: students that graduate from Weatherford in the top 25%, they succeed at a very high level at Tarleton.”
Hurley praised WISD’s leadership for seeking out this opportunity for students.
Both Board President Mike Guest and Weatherford Mayor Paul Paschall are TSU alumni and both attended the MOU signing. Guest said the partnership marks a special day for TSU alumni.
“When I called [Paschall], I said, ‘Hey, this is special for me and you. This is special because this is where we grew up, this is where we became, gave us our start to become who we are today. That was because of Tarleton,’” Guest said.
During the regular meeting, the board heard the 2018-19 Texas Academic Performance Report and held a public hearing, which no one spoke during. TAPR covers academic performance, the district’s previous financial information, teacher experience and turnover rates, and class size averages, among other topics.
After executive session, the board approved a bid for the sale of property at 118 N. Denton Road in Weatherford.
The board also approved a class size waiver for two kindergarten classes at Wright Elementary in a 5:2 vote, with Board Secretary Greg Shaw and member Jeff Ford opposing. The waiver is for classes that exceed the ratio of 22 students per one teacher.
Hanks said students moved into the district during the winter break. There are three sections of kindergarten at Wright Elementary, two with 23 students and one with 20 students, which has deaf education kids in it.
Ford asked why all three sections couldn’t be balanced with 22 students. Hanks said the district is pursuing the waivers to keep deaf education students together.
“You could do that, I guess, and balance your classes but then you’re going to have a super heavy class whenever those deaf ed kids come in,” Hanks said.
Ford countered that the “super heavy class” would come with another teacher for the deaf education students.
The next regular WISD school board meeting is on March 9.