|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
TISD test scores increase
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Although the 2011-12 state mandated test scores did not count toward a “school report card,” based on past standards Trinity schools would have received passing grades. During his report to the Trinity School Board Monday night, Curriculum Director Steve Brownlee said scores on the state mandated exams were generally up from the 2010-11 results. Last year the school district was given an “academically unacceptable” rating based on the 2010-11 scores but Brownlee said this year’s results showed marked improvement in many areas. The latest tests are not being counted by the state in their report card program because the Texas Education Agency is in the process of changing from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to the new State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test. Under the change, sophomores and juniors took the TAKS test this past school year while third through ninth graders were given the STAAR test. Next year only the exit level TAKS test will be offered to juniors or to those who have failed to pass all of its sections. STAAR test results from the 2011-12 tests will be used to set the baselines for passing on next year’s exams. “Had our test scores counted, we would have earned an academically acceptable rating this year,” Brownlee told the board. “We have had marked improvement but we’re still not satisfied. Our goal is to earn as ‘recognized’ rating next year,” he said. Among the third through eighth grades, Brownlee said the first STAAR results indicated that the “achievement gap” between the various ethnic groups has been cut significantly. In the past, it was not uncommon to see a 30 to 40 percent difference between the passing rates of the African-American, Hispanic and white subgroups. “That gap is down to 9 percent, which shows that when the needs of the students are being met, everyone can learn,” he said. In fact, the STAAR test had the Hispanic subgroup as the highest scoring among Trinity students in grades 3-8. “The Hispanic subpopulation is now our top ethnic subpopulation on nine out of 16 tests,” he said. Food service changing During the meeting, Food Services Director Wanda Christ and Business Manager Kevin Parish updated the school board on changes being mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010. Christ said the law would require changes in the menu being offered to students to include more fresh fruits and vegetables and less items containing fat. Schools that meet the new standards receive additional reimbursement from the federal government for its free or reduced price lunch program but the regulations also will force the district to raise the cost of lunches to at least $2.51. Christ noted that students on the elementary and intermediate campuses now pay $1.85 for lunch while those on the high school and middle school campuses pay $2.35. Parish noted that under the law, any price increase would have to be phased in at no more than 10 cents per year. Currently, Trinity schools are part of a “Universal Breakfast” program, which provides free breakfast meals to all students, regardless of family income. Parish said the ultimate goal is to qualify for “Provision 2,” which would allow the district to provide free lunches to all students. In addition to meeting HHFKA standards, the school must have between 85 and 90 percent of their students on the free or reduced cost lunch program, based on the child’s family income. At present, only 82 percent of the students are signed up for the free/reduced cost program. Other action During the meeting, the board also: • Held a public hearing on the Child Internet Protection Act outlining what the school district is doing to safeguard children using school computers and network systems. • Revised the staff stipend list to include a $4,000 payment for the assistant band director. • Approved the administrative salary schedule with no changes. • Granted a 3 percent salary increase to administrators. The board had previously approved 3 percent pay hikes for teachers and support personnel. • Voted to hire a number of teachers, effective Aug. 1. Teachers hired for the elementary and intermediate campuses include sixth grade science teacher Crystal English; first grade teacher Jamie Pesi; and reading specialist Sherry Brownlee. Hired for the Trinity High School and Trinity Middle School were TMS Coach Robert Conley, THS English teacher Taylor Oden, TMS Assistant Principal Jody Lawheard, history teacher/coach Forrest Reddick, seventh grade English teacher Mary Warburton, Spanish teacher Esequiel Quiratte and THS chemistry teacher Mark Jackson.