RISD, area school ratings rise "
There were likely a lot of "high fives" among school administrators at the Rockdale ISD Administration Building Thursday and Friday.
Two school campuses—the elementary and high school—earned "recognized" status from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the annual accountability ratings, the crucial scorecard by which districts and campuses are judged.
Rockdale Junior High School and the district as a whole earned "acceptable" ratings.
Milano ISD was "recognized" at all levels.
Thorndale High School was "exemplary"— the highest rating—Thorndale Elementary was recognized and Thorndale Middle School was exemplary. Thorndale ISD as a whole was recognized.
"We're delighted," Penny Curry, assistant superintendent for instruction said. "Everyone in the district, worked so hard toward this goal. We're going to enjoy this and then we're going to go out and work toward higher goals next term."
Although accountability ratings are also based on school completion rates, a special education test and dropout information, the major factor is student performance on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.
"We've known for quite some time our TAKS scores had improved," Curry said. "We actually were expecting the good ratings we received. We were fairly sure we'd have one campus recognized and were optimistic we'd have two. And that's what happened."
Curry said the junior high was "just one or two student scores away from attaining the recognized rating."
First since '06 The 2009 scores mark the first time since 2006 for any Rockdale ISD campuses to earn a recognized rating. The junior high was recognized that year.
This year's scores are the best overall for the Rockdale ISD in seven years. In 2002 the high school earned an exemplary rating and the junior high was recognized.
"There are a lot of people who made this possible," Curry said. "Obviously the students are the ones who came through and the teachers never lost sight of our goals. This year we also involved the parents at a very high level, making them responsible in several areas."
Probably no superintendent went though more to find out the results than Lindy Robinson of the Milano ISD who set an alarm to get awakened and get on-line at midnight Thursday in an attempt to learn how the district fared.
She couldn't get through to the TEA. But when she came to work early Friday morning there was an e-mail at her school address informing her the district and all of its campuses were recognized.
"I was all by myself and didn't have anyone to tell," she laughed. The phone rang. It was The Rockdale Reporter inquiring about the accountability scores.
"You're going to know this before any of the principals," Robinson said.
"We're delighted," she added. "This is what we worked for and, frankly, it's what we expected. But it's always a relief when it becomes official."
Thorndale's ratings were "kind of a surprise," said Supt. Casey Callahan, but he and district offi- cials were "terribly excited."
"I had figured our high school would be close to 'recognized,' but not quite there, so that was a very pleasant surprise," Callahan said. "It really shows the dedication our teachers have."
He said he was pleased that the district as a whole received the "recognized" status, an unusual situation.
Callahan said he and the board felt the scores were "not exactly where we want to be across the board, but we are reaching that way. We will never be satisfied until we reach all our goals," he said.
Thorndale Elementary also scored well and earned a recognized status. Only science scores at the junior high level kept that campus from attaining "recognized" status.
"I'm proud of all three campuses," he said. "They all have really bright spots—and they are our teachers and students."
Gause ISD Supt. Perry Bell said he and the board are "extremely pleased with the increases in achievement this year."
Bell said 8 of the 9 indicators showed GISD in the "exemplary" status.
"We're excited about the opportunities in enhancing our instructional programs to meet the changing needs of our students," Bell said. He praised teachers, students and the community's parents for support.
|Ben Milam Elem.||Acceptable|