New STAAR system, drug testing on tap in 2012-13

This time of year we usually have school ratings from the state that are based on test scores of our students.

Because of the change in assessments from TAKS to STAAR we will not have a state accountability rating for the 2012-2013 school year.

However, we have ratings from our federal accountability system called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) that continues to become more challenging as the passing standard increases each year, eventually culminating in 2014 with an expectation of 100% of our students passing the reading and math tests.

The 2012 required passing rate to meet AYP for all students and student groups is 83% in math and 87% in reading.

This year we had good passing rates among our students, and even though our students performed at what is considered a low B level in both reading and math we did not meet AYP at the district level nor did any RISD campus meet AYP.

The passing expectation will increase this year to 92% in math and 93% in reading.

Because federal accountability was required for this year the Texas Education Agency used STAAR questions and linked them to TAKS standards and statistically developed a bridge score for students that took the test in grades 3-8.

Tenth grade scores were already in TAKS form. The good news is the bridge scores indicate that we made academic progress from the past year. If we still had state ratings based on TAKS we would have recognized and acceptable campuses with no unacceptable campuses.

Unfortunately it will be January 2013 before we know the true meaning of student STAAR scores.

At that time the Texas Education Agency will release individual Confidential Student Records for schools and parents. There will not be enough time to use those scores to prepare students for the 2013 tests that will be administered weeks after the release of the 2012 passing standards.

So, what do we do? We do what we should be doing in our schools,focusing on good instruction, maintaining high expectations, developing positive relationships with students, and engaging them in the learning process.

Our commitment is to provide the best educational environment for our students; one that offers engaging, appropriate experiences for them so that they learn and are able to apply their knowledge in ways that will enrich their lives and ensure their well being.

Another major change for RISD this year is the use of random drug testing for students in grades 6-12 that participate in extra curricular activities or that drive and park a motorized vehicle at school.

High school football and volleyball players, band students, and cheerleaders have already received parent permission slips to be signed and returned to our coaches, directors, and sponsors.

A policy and procedures handbook is available at both the Jr. High School and High School. An explanation of the requirements is found in our campus and athletic handbooks.

Purpose of drug testing is to prevent student drug abuse and to provide students an opportunity to seek help when they test positive for illegal drug use.

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2012-08-16 digital edition

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