Palestine Independent School District Both Prepares Our Workforce and Offers Top Careers
Monday, April 24, 2023
Palestine Independent School District (PISD), including Palestine High School, models excellence in education and workforce development in the heart of Texas. PISD’s mission to foster relationships that excite, engage, and empower their students and community to achieve excellence is apparent in every teacher, staff member, and program offering. As an integral part of the Palestine community, they ensure that students have the in-demand skills and knowledge to excel in a rapidly changing economy. With its strong community partnerships, PISD is a launchpad for innovation and economic growth in the region.
“Our Career and College Readiness has worked very hard over the last few years to develop
programs to best fit the needs of our students,” said Mr. Jason Marshall, PISD Superintendent. “Whether a child at PISD is planning to join the workforce immediately after graduation or continue their education, PISD has a program that will give them a competitive edge for success.”
For example, Construction Pathway students have great opportunities in Palestine because of the number of historic home remodeling projects and the need for new construction. NCCER Core-Curriculum Certifications with OSHA are offered to all Construction Pathway students. The curriculum consists of small projects done in the school shop and large projects constructed or remodeled on location.
PISD students not only have the opportunities to learn a trade or log college hours but also operate under the expectation that they will take advantage of these opportunities. “Students are constantly reminded of the things offered at Palestine High School,” said Mr. Marshall. “Partnerships with local businesses and the support of the community make this all possible.”
Palestine ISD features its College and Career programs through campus showcases, open houses, campus tours for lower grade levels, videos highlighting course offerings, participation in community events, and more. Social media platforms are effectively used to reach parents and the community about the hands-on learning opportunities at PISD.
PISD Career and College Readiness Initiatives
Wildcat Acres has significantly increased agriculture learning opportunities. Students have the chance to see how the cattle market works through grazing pastures and calves. Additionally, students prepare to show cattle, goats, lambs, pigs, and rabbits. Through greenhouse use, horticulture interest is on the rise at PISD. Younger students can see Wildcat Acres firsthand during “Little Hands on the Farm.”
“Wildcat Acres allows Palestine ISD to open the door to the world of agriculture and ag science for many of the children of PISD,” said Mr. Marshall. “Without the land and facilities, students would not be able to have firsthand experience with raising their own animals, including the responsibility of maintaining a clean, organized, and healthy environment. It’s our board's vision and the District's passion to ensure each student has an equal opportunity to learn and explore. This all came together to create Wildcat Acres.”
Wildcat University has taken off in the past few years. Students are now offered dual credit opportunities at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC), Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), and Kilgore College while enrolled in Palestine High School. PHS students receive the academic counseling offered to full-time college students but with the backup of high school counselors. “Our students take great pride in these opportunities,” said Mr. Marshall. “The number of students utilizing the dual credit opportunities has continued to grow.”
“Wildcat University provides PISD students with a college education fully funded by Palestine ISD,” said Mr. Marshall. “Students often graduate from TVCC with their associate’s degrees prior to their high school graduation. Other students graduate with core requirements completed or with considerable college hours. The savings for the student and their family allow them to focus on the final two years of a four-year degree. Many students obtain their bachelor's degree before they are 20 and continue on to advanced degrees. The tuition-free component allows first-generation college graduates an opportunity never realized in their families.”
Internships and Workforce Development. Through partnerships, internships are developed for students to have the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to the test. There are over 20 student internships in the areas of EMT, construction, teaching and training, dental hygiene, law enforcement, real estate, and more.
“These internships are invaluable,” said Mr. Marshall. “The District listened to the community many years ago, hearing the need for employable graduates. This has been the catalyst for developing programs in response to input and communication from businesses in Palestine. We work with advisory councils made up of local businesses and experts in our career pathways to ensure programs and instruction are aligned with community needs.”
“The College and Career Readiness department will continue to grow and adapt in order to meet the needs of today’s learners,” said Mr. Marshall. “Workforce data will continue to be studied to form new ideas based on the needs of our community and the demands of area businesses. Advisory councils meet at least twice annually to develop the appropriate skills needed for career success. Our Wildcat University staff meets with local institutions of higher learning to fulfill the demands of current university enrollment requirements. Students at PISD will continue to be pushed to their potential through either Career Pathways or four-year university preparedness.”
Palestine Independent School District Careers
While Palestine schools are dedicated to preparing students for a variety of job pathways, some of the best careers in the area are with PISD itself. Current job listings can be explored here.
“Palestine ISD provides employees with a workplace full of opportunities,” said Mr. Marshall. “Whether it is growing and becoming the best teacher possible or working as a paraprofessional, employees have a multitude of career choices in Palestine ISD. We have team members working toward teaching degrees or trying their hands at new extracurricular experiences in our after-school programs. The possibilities are many.”
“Palestine ISD supports employees, but most importantly, employees support each other,” said Mr. Marshall. “Each campus works as a team and supports each other as extended family. The relationships built on campuses, between campuses, and with students and families provide great rewards for our employees. The District works to hear the voices of all to make decisions in the best interest of students, staff, family, and the community.”
Palestine is a desirable place to settle down because of the lower cost of living, decreased commute times, and exceptional quality of life. Dollars go much farther in Palestine as compared to various urban neighbors. According to Best Places, the median cost of a home in Palestine is 44 percent less expensive than in Dallas and 27 percent less costly than in Tyler.
Benefits of Working at PISD
Salary & Compensation. Salaries are competitive, with first-year teachers starting at $40,000. Stipends are offered for content and critical need fields. Additional stipends are available for designated extracurricular positions.
Teacher Incentive Allotment. Funds are available to recruit and retain quality teachers. The Texas Legislature funds the program as part of House Bill 3. Teachers have the ability to earn one of three designations: Recognized, Exemplary, or Master. Depending on the designation, teachers can increase their yearly compensation by $3,000 to up to $32,000.
Grow your Own. Local and state-funded opportunities to have tuition paid by Palestine ISD are available for paraprofessionals to become certified teachers while working in the District.
Retention Incentive. Employees with five or more years of service with PISD can have up to $500 added annually to an investment account.
Mid-year Incentive. Certified employees can receive up to $1500 annually.
Healthcare Savings. PISD provides a highly competitive, affordable, self-funded health insurance plan with the District contribution exceeding the required state contribution. Dental, vision, disability, cancer, accident, critical illness, term life insurance, and flexible spending are offered for families.
Life Insurance. All full-time employees receive $10,000 until 65 years of age, with decreased benefits after 65.
Social Emotional Support. Employees are automatically enrolled in the Employee Life Assistance Program (EAP), which provides a wealth of resources such as free counseling, access to financial and legal advice, and so much more.
Follow Palestine Independent School District on Facebook and Instagram. Explore their job listings.
Palestine Economic Development Corporation
Palestine Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) is dedicated to workforce development. Our mission is to promote and facilitate responsible commercial and industrial business retention and growth that expands, diversifies, and strengthens the local tax base while enhancing local amenities and destination attractions throughout the City of Palestine.
To learn more about incentives and opportunities in Palestine, Texas, contact the PEDC at 903-729-4100 or via email. We are prepared for growth and ready to provide immediate and customized assistance. Explore our available properties here.