Bond election set for STEM Research Center in Roscoe
On Saturday, May 11, registered voters in Roscoe have the opportunity to head to the polls to cast their vote in a bond election approved by the Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District (RCISD) Board of Trustees for the construction of a $3.5 million Capstone Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Research Center. Regular voting will take place on Saturday, May 11 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the RCISD Cafetorium, located at 1201 West 7th Street in Roscoe.Early voting will be conducted at the RCISD Administration Building from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each regular business day beginning Monday, April 29 and running through Tuesday, May 7.According to RCISD administration, in the event of a successful election (based upon conservative tax base and interest rate projections), the $3.5 million bond can be issued without an increase in the current I&S (Interest & Sinking) tax rate, which is the debt service rate, due to the fact that property values in RCISD are significantly higher than originally estimated at the time the current debt service rate was approved by voters in November 2008 Bond Election.In 2009, Roscoe Collegiate became the first rural Early College High School (ECHS) in Texas. As an ECHS, the expectation is for all students to earn the Associate Degree through Western Texas College (WTC) in Snyder, with Technical Certifications available through Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Sweetwater.That same year, Roscoe Collegiate began working through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) with Educate Texas, formerly known as the Texas High School Project, to develop a rural model for ECHS that other small and rural schools in Texas interested in school transformation could replicate.In 2011, TEA began a process of merging the Early College and STEM programs that were being developed with guidance from Educate Texas. Thus, RCISD is currently in the final stages of the application process to become a STEM Academy, as well as an Early College.The STEM Academy program requires students to engage in Project Based Learning (PBL) in an attempt to create real world, relevant experiences necessary for students to successfully manage the rigorous academic demands of Early College. STEM has recently become the new educational "buzz word" in Texas and the U.S., due to the current inability to fill even 50% of the skilled workforce needs in STEM-related fields.In 2012, Roscoe Collegiate was one of 23 public school districts in Texas named to the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC), which became House Bill (HB) 2824 of the current Legislative Session. If approved by the Texas Legislature, HB 2824 will task the THPSC with the development of a research based, multiple measure accountability system that would also provide a certain degree of local flexibility to tailor education to individual student needs of the local area. For Roscoe Collegiate, this would lead to a system of not only standardized test measurement of high priority learning standards, but also measures of college readiness, as evidenced by Associate Degrees and workforce readiness, as evidenced by STEM endorsements and certifications. As a research based institution, the research cycle of problem identification, collaborative problem solving and persuasive presentation of STEM related research would become the basis of PBL projects for students in grades 3 through 10 and Capstone Research Projects for students in grades 11 and 12.The Roscoe Collegiate Capstone STEM Research Center is the final component of the Roscoe Collegiate System Model being developed for scalability for Educate Texas at the state level and Jobs for the Future at the national level. The laboratory setting will provide students with close proximity for 500 hour apprenticeship and internship opportunities often necessary for STEM certifications and endorsements. Current projected STEM endorsements areas include environmental science, engineering, biotechnology, food safety and security and agribusiness.For more information on the RCISD bond election, visit the school district's website at www.roscoe.esc14.net and find "Bond Election Information" under the "Quicklinks" section located on the left side of the home page.