Men's Breakfast, April 11, 2015

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, April 11th with Brooke Merritt, principal of Freeport Intermediate School.  Brooke came from a family that worked with schools but were not actually teachers.  She wanted to become teacher at an early age.  She became a teacher by being the first person in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree, and of course the first to receive a master’s degree.  She started teaching as a coach and as a special education teacher.  She then moved into administration.  She worked at several school districts in North Texas.  She was persuaded to come to Brazosport as an assistant principal at Brazoswood High School.  She then took the principal position at Freeport Intermediate School when that position opened up.  Brooke’s husband, Keith, was also present at the breakfast. 

Freeport Intermediate School is one of three intermediate schools in the district; the others are Clute and Lake Jackson.  The Intermediate schools teach seventh and eighth grades.  Freeport Intermediate serves the Freeport area.  About half the student population is Hispanic and the rest are Anglo and Black. 

The teachers have been busy recently with the STAR tests, which are high stakes tests for the schools.  The recent changes in legislation reducing the number of tests will make life easier for the students and teachers.  Also, the new legislation no longer assumes that all students will be on a college admission track and renovates trade skills and courses in the schools. 

One problem a couple of years ago was that a very high percentage of algebra students failed in intermediate school.. Brooke said that this was because parents wanted their students to be in the algebra class because that was where the prestigious students were, not because they were qualified.  Since then the school has required that the students show mathematical maturity before enrolling in algebra and is quicker to remove students from algebra if they are not able to handle the work. 

The schools are also adopting high technology.  All students are issued Chromebooks, a type of laptop computer, to use in the classroom.  This allows greater access to information and more rapid feedback from the teacher.  The students are not yet allowed to take the computers home. 

The men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be May 9th.