LISD elementaries, junior high get higher TEA ratings
Polk County Enterprise, August 2007
BY VALERIE REDDELL
and JAMES E. BAUGH
LIVINGSTON — Ratings released by the Texas Education Agency Wednesday show Livingston Junior High has improved to a recognized rating and both of LISD’s elementaries earned exemplary ratings.
“We have a lot to be proud of in Livingston ISD,” Superintendent Darrell Myers said. Myers took over the superintendent’s post June 1.
“We have two exemplary elementary schools for the first time ever. We have a junior high school that went from Academically Unacceptable to Recognized in one year and we have a fourth and fifth grade campus which is literally points away from becoming recognized. I think we are at a place where we can really excel and create a lot of success from crayons all the way to careers.”
The news was not so good for the high school campus, however.
“Livingston High School has great students. We have great teachers, and great programs,” Myers said. “We will focus hard this year on maximizing our secondary school resources and raising our secondary accountability ratings to reflect the same accomplishment and success that our elementary schools have been enjoying.”
“Some of the changes we have implemented over the summer months include the separation of our Instructional Departments into Math/Science and English/Humanities,” Myers said.
“This division is going to give us better local accountability on the wide range of testing the state is now requiring of our students. We have also brought in some new staff members including new principal Richard Scoggin who is going to create a structured learning environment and implement creative ideas on increasing our success levels. We are going to move the focus away from excuses and back on student success and accountability.”
TEA requires 65 percent of all students to pass the reading/language arts portion of the mandated exam, and 79 percent of the high school students tested did pass.
The state also requires a 65 percent pass rate in four sub-populations: African-American, Hispanic, White and Economically Disadvantaged.
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Only 64 percent of the African-American students and 70 percent of the Economically Disadvantaged students passed the reading/language arts portion.
The high school campus also failed to meet the state’s “required improvement” standards in each of the three minority sub-groups.
In the mathematics portion of the exam, African-American, Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged populations missed the 45 percent required pass rate by 2 to 3 percent.
The campus did not meet required improvement standards for any population group in math or science, including the “all students” category.
Dropout rates did not meet required improvement levels among African-American students either.
Seventeen students (8 percent) dropped out from the class of 2006, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2005.
Of those dropouts, six were African-American, three Hispanic and eight white. Eleven were classified as economically disadvantage from all ethnic groups.
Leggett Elementary School received an academically unacceptable rating from the Texas Education Agency on August 1.
The rating is based on students’ Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores along with the completion rate of seniors and the overall dropout rate as well as the results of State-Developed Alternative Assessment tests given to special education students.
Leggett Elementary failed to meet the minimum 40 percent required pass rate for the science portion of the TAKS test where 40 percent fewer students passed in 2007 than in 2006.
Given Leggett’s small student populations, the state’s percentage-based standards give each student’s scores a tremendous bearing on the overall rating.
A single student’s tests can sway the statistics by as much as 10 percent and affect the rating outcome.
Leggett also saw a 10 percent increase in failures for economically disadvantaged students. That sub-population actually increased by five students from 2006.
The percentage of students meeting minimum standards on the writing portion of the TAKS dropped from 90 percent in 2006 to 76 percent in 2007 and among economically disadvantaged students the numbers indicate a 16 percent decrease in pass rates.
Leggett superintendent Vicki Jones was not available for comment Thursday or Friday.