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VISD, Gulf Bend Center agree on counseling partnership

By Carolina Astrain
Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.

Mima González looks on as Gulf Bend Center Associate Executive Directors David Way and Lane Johnson address Victoria school board members at a regular meeting  Thursday.

Some students receiving mental health services with the Gulf Bend Center will no longer need a ride from campus to see their counselors.

In a unanimous vote, Victoria school board members approved a memorandum of understanding with the regional health care center that will integrate services in two VISD schools.

"This is a partnership that promises to enhance our mission," said Mima González, assistant superintendent for elementary education. "The Gulf Bend Center has been a champion in our community for many years."

Torres Elementary School and Patti Welder Magnet Middle School were selected to pilot the program and are poised to offer two highly qualified counselors office space at each of their campuses.

"This is an idea we've been playing with for a long time," said Gulf Bend Associate Executive Director Lane Johnson. "We want to reduce obstacles to a successful education."

The integration comes at no cost to the district, and plans for expanding the program to other schools were included in the memorandum.

"This will allow for more efficient scheduling for counseling," González said.

In other business, the board recognized efforts by the director of human resources, Eloy Chapa, that have met the No Child Left Behind's Highly Qualified Teacher requirement for this year.

"Mr. Chapa has been on a whirlwind tour of job fairs," said superintendent Robert Jaklich. "He's been doing this to boost the quality of math and science teachers in the district."

Chapa said one of the many qualities he looks for in a candidate is Spanish-speaking capabilities for students who grew up with Spanish as a first language.

Hispanics make up 61.4 percent of students enrolled overall in the Victoria school district, according to numbers reported for the 2011-12 fall semester.

"We have to be able to provide a transitional process," Chapa said.

The district hopes to employ five new teachers for the 2013 winter semester, said Chapa.



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