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Humble ISD Board Meeting – Accountability

Posted by Texas Education on August 13, 2008

TAKS scores reason to celebrate in Humble ISD
From Jim Parsons, Executive Director, Accountability

Last night’s monthly was pretty much as usual, a bit boring. It’s no wonder they are called bored meetings, eh? No, seriously, last night was one of the reasons I decided to blog on Texas Education – accountability. Jim Parsons Executive Director Office of Accountability and Student Assessment, was the main speaker. He talked about where the district stands, not only on TAKS, TAKS scores and benchmark testing, but pretty much everything else that makes us who we are. Schools ratings and how well some, most of the schools did this past year. And from what Jim said, we are doing pretty well. You can see more of what Jim talked about here, the Humble ISD news, and just scroll down a bit.

Something I learned at last nights meeting, Jim spoke on, was how the DBA’s were feared by many. They were not welcomed with open arms and that is because of the fear factor. The outcome is; good things came out of that fear. The district was able to look at the DBA’s as a learning mechanism and a gauge on where we needed to focus our attention towards TAKS.

We still have much work to do on Math and Science, we need to focus on english language learners and the drop out rate. The state is still making us jump through hoops, and we keep doing it, only to come out better on the other side. Another topic of concern is the dropouts and high school completion rates. We will be focusing on that, among others things, as well. This is a topic I have been seeing come up more and more, as of late, not so much at Humble ISD, but across the state.

Dr. Sconzo gave kudos to our Deborah Yocham, Facility Planning and Construction Director, on what a fine job she is doing. Seems we are seeing the light at the end of the construction tunnel on some of our ongoing projects, ie: Kingwood High. Mr. Lapeze brought up how we need to get the parents involved more. Hello, this is what I’ve been saying all along! I also feel we seriously need to get more of the community involved. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of businesses and parents alike helping our schools, but, it is not enough. Not only do we need to get them involved, but we also need to educate them on where we are, how we are doing with what we have, where we need to go and how to get there.

Seems the more information I get, the more complicated things become. But, Jim did an excellent job at the podium last night explaining where we’ve been and where we are now. He also explained how we can’t get complacent in any way, shape or form. One of the terms he used was, “we have to move forward just to stay where we are.” I agree with that.

Concerning the board; they once again, looked refreshed (vacations must have been good for them this year,) asking a lot of questions and working it.

I don’t know about ya’ll, but seems we are getting something right. This truly, I feel, can give us the confidence we need to move in a more positive direction, even with all the pitfalls. This still does not change how and what (or again, lack of what) the lege is doing. We still need strong voices, we still need better leadership voted in in November.

Here’s the recap from Humble’s website after the fold:

The 2008 ratings, and the associated improvements in student performance, give Humble ISD much cause for celebration. The fact that the biggest areas of improvement were in Math and Science is an indicator of the success of last year’s work to have a breakthrough in those subjects. Benchmark assessments, as well as increased focus in the classroom, may be part of the reason for improvement. We are continuing to analyze data to determine the factors that were most effective.

It is equally obvious that Humble ISD still has much more to do to increase the improvement of economically disadvantaged and some minority groups. English language learners, though not cited specifically in the ratings, are another group of students who will need extra attention this year. This is not only true in the parts of the district with high concentrations of struggling students, but also on campuses with much smaller numbers of such children.

Finally, the high school completion rate needs attention in Humble ISD. The state continued the “school leaver provision” that was first established in 2007. The continuing effects of displaced students, as well as major changes in the definition of “school completer,” caused the Commissioner of Education to exclude dropout and completion rates for consideration this year. TEA’s early analysis of the data indicated that many, many districts and campuses across Texas would have labeled Academically Unacceptable due to completion rate alone. As we have said many times before, no single indicator should wipe out high marks in other areas. That would have happened in suburban and urban districts across the state, including Brazosport, Channelview, Dickinson, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Santa Fe, Sheldon, Spring Branch, plus the acclaimed KIPP Charter Schools. In addition, high schools in those districts would also have been rated unacceptable. Humble ISD and Humble High would also have suffered low ratings.

The Agency will study this issue, but Humble ISD and other districts will be planning improvement strategies to increase the number of graduates, particular among low-income students and English language learners. There is also a possibility that the completer definition and the method of calculating completion rates may change yet again. Regardless of accountability rules and completion rate formulas, it is important that students receive high school diplomas.

Complete information about this year’s ratings released by TEA may be found in the Accountability area of the web site.

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One Response to “Humble ISD Board Meeting – Accountability”

  1. I’d like to add the powerpoint that Jim wowed us with on that Tuesday night.

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