Joe Burns

Copperas Cove ISD Superintendent Joe Burns delivers a state of the district address at Lea Ledger Auditorium at Copperas Cove High School on Monday evening. Burns updated students and parents about how the district has been doing in various areas including academically and financially.

During a nearly hourlong address Monday at Cove High’s Lea Ledger Auditorium, Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Joe Burns gave an update on the happenings of the district during the 2020-2021 school year.

Many of the points Burns emphasized fell under the teaching and learning theme, including the district beginning to offer training for all pre-K, kindergarten and first grade teachers in the science of reading.

“Many of you will probably ask, ‘Well, why is that important? Teachers have teaching certificates, wouldn’t they already know that?’” Burns said. “I’d share with you that more than half of all people entering the education field now are entering that field under alternative certification requirements, and they may not have had that very sound instruction in teaching reading, even at the early elementary grade levels.”

Burns said the district plans to begin to train second and third grade teachers beginning next school year.

Near the beginning of the address, Burns also highlighted the accomplishments of the district and how they compare to the nation and Texas.

Copperas Cove’s graduation rate continues to be above the federal and state average. The drop-out rate is below the Texas average.

The district is also above the state average in the number of graduates who enlist in the military.

Burns also mentioned that the student scores on the SAT for math and English language and arts is above the Texas average.

Reading and math scores

With a large number of students in the district still participating in virtual learning, Burns highlighted their reading and math scores.

“Even in the midst of the pandemic, where we have probably 20% of our student population at home receiving at-home instruction and virtual support, we still see our math and reading scores in line with our previous year’s math and reading scores,” Burns said.

He said those numbers are significant to the district, because the Texas Education Agency did a study of those subjects particularly for students who are learning at home during the pandemic.

The study, Burns said, indicated that a number of school districts have lost two-and-a-half to six months of learning in those subjects.

Crossroads High School

One of Burns’ final highlights of the district in the teaching and learning theme was about Crossroads High School and its increase in the number of graduates from fall 2019 to fall 2020.

In fall 2019, the alternative school graduated 15 students, while in 2020, the school graduated 32.

Several students are also currently taking dual-credit courses to earn college credit.

“This semester is the first time in the history of Crossroads High School that we have students who are there who are also attending courses at CTC for dual credit, both on the academic and vocational side,” Burns said.

The full state of the district can be viewed on YouTube at

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