|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - October 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Monitor reports progress at TMS
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – The monitor assigned by the state to help improve science scores at Trinity Middle School reported progress is being made during Monday’s meeting of the Trinity School Board. Dr. Wes Hickey, a professor from the University of Texas at Tyler, told the board that while more work is needed, he sees definite improvement among the eighth graders at the school. Hickey was assigned as the TMS monitor last year after science scores at the school fell below acceptable levels set by the Texas Education Agency. Hickey noted that in the latest round of test scores – which were released this past summer – TMS was no longer rated “academically unacceptable” based on the science scores. He noted he will continue to work with the school for the rest of the school year because the state requires a monitor be in place for two years. The monitor noted that while the school did achieve an acceptable rating during the 2010 tests, it did so “by the skin of its teeth.” “There were several areas that the margin was only one student, so you are definitely right on the edge,” he told the board. Hickey said he is continuing to help put together a School Improvement Plan to address areas that need improvement and will present an updated version for board approval at their October meeting. “I do see improvement at the school,” he said when questioned by the board, adding that he and the new TMS principal, John Lindsay, are working closely to help students improve their test scores. In related business, Superintendent Dave Plymale told the board that a special monitor is being added to work with the Trinity High School campus as part of the federal accountability system. He noted that while Dr. Hickey was assigned by the state based on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test results, the high school monitor is being assigned because the school fell short of federal standards over a two year period. Plymale noted that the new THS principal, Craig Ruby, has a history of excellence at all of his previous schools and already is working to improve the campus. Robotics program During his report, Plymale also announced the creation of a robotics program at THS and asked its sponsor, Tom Sample, to provide details. Sample noted the school has been awarded a grant from the state that allows them to purchase special kits that will allow four teams, each composed of four students, to work on the program. “Right now its an extracurricular program, but it could be added as a regular class in the future,” he told the board. He noted that the school already had two robotics kits and that he has one that he owns. “If there are more than 16 students who want to participate, we can handle it. Its just that we can only take 16 – four teams of four – to the regional contests,” he told the board. Winners at the regional level can advance to the state robotics competition in Austin. Sample explained that they will be given a list of tasks and each team will be required to build a robot that can complete those tasks. Other business During the meeting, the board: • Amended the policy governing sexual offenders coming onto school property. While those who have been convicted of sexual crimes or who are classified as sexual offenders are normally prohibited from coming onto school property, the exception is when such a person also is the parent or guardian of a student. Then they are allowed to come to school but must be accompanied by school personnel at all times. Under the policy change approved Monday, a new, more detailed form will have to be completed by a sexual offender before permission to come onto school grounds is granted. • Approved changes to the school dress code governing holes and tears in clothing. The changes also prohibited students in grades 7-12 from wearing house shoes or slippers to school and it also bars open toed shoes in the school science labs. • Approved three more early release days including Nov. 19, Feb. 11 and March 11. • Received reports on the school’s Careers and Technology Education (CATE) programs from Tally Joe Stout, the district athletic program from Athletic Director Chuck Langston and the special education program from Special Education Director Terry Marino. • Adopted a “Make Education a Priority” resolution asking the state legislature to give public school special attention during the current budget crisis. Plymale noted that 68 school districts had adopted the resolution as of Monday and that many more would approve it and send it to the state legislature before it convenes in January. • Approved an agreement with the local Head Start program regarding shared speech therapy services.