2012-06-28 / School

Superintendent’s Corner

Frances M. McArthur, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools Lexington Independent School District

Lexington ISD trustees took an initial look at preliminary results of the first round of STAAR and End of Course (EOC) exams during a meeting Monday, June 18th. We have received raw scores, but there is much we do not know about their significance with the limited information the state is releasing at this time. Students in Texas public schools are being hit with many changes including increased rigor on tests that go into greater depth at a higher level of cognitive complexity, increased performance standards and an increased number of test items for most subjects and grade levels, in addition to a new four-hour time limit on testing. LISD test scores mirrored the state in most areas. Our students performed best in high school geometry and middle school algebra, where one hundred per cent of our students’ raw scores met the level two phase in level. Unfortunately, geometry and middle school algebra were the only subjects where one hundred percent of the students tested so well. For example, only eightythree percent of our high school students’ algebra raw scores are at what is believed to be the adequate level needed for college readiness. While compared to a state field test result of under fifty percent, eighty three percent does not sound so bad. Unfortunately, what this really means is that if we don’t get that seventeen percent of students to pass this same test in future administrations, those students will not graduate. Of course in Lexington we will provide whatever interventions are necessary to ensure these students are successful during future administrations of the test; however, there is much work to be done and limited resources and staff to do it with. Though not required by TEA, we are providing TXVSN classes for our students to review the standards covered in the EOC exams.

At the state level we are seeing an outcry from parents and students about the testing mania that is being mandated at a time when districts across the state have had to make drastic staffing cuts to survive the state-funding shortfall. In fact, many school boards in Texas, including ours, have adopted a resolution calling legislators to reconsider the craziness of forty-five days of testing. I have no problem with going to a more rigorous testing program and I believe very strongly that we must prepare our students to be college and workforce ready, without enrollment in remediation at the higher education level. However, we should not cut education at the level that it has been cut as we move to this more rigorous system and we must reduce the number of days that instruction at schools must stop so that students can be tested. In the meantime, we will work hard to meet the new more rigorous standards and move more students to Level III Advanced Performance Measures.

It always makes me happy to see many of our community members focusing on a healthy lifestyle and walking and running on our LISD track. During the next six to eight weeks we will have the entrance by the ticket booth on the north side of the track locked due to the demolition and rebuilding of the press box. Community members can enter the track through a gate immediately to the north east corner of the administration building on Hwy 77. That gate will get you into the parking lot of our administration building, walkers can walk across the parking lot and through the gate adjacent to the east side ticket booth, turn left and there will be an unlocked gate at the southeast (visitors) side of the track. We want you to continue your healthy lifestyle choices and encourage you to use the outside lanes of the LISD track to do so; however, it is critical that you stay away from the stands. The area cordoned off with orange tape is off limits and the public is not allowed in that area.

The LISD Board of Trustees will hold a budget workshop and meeting this Thursday, June 28th. The workshop begins at 7:00pm. I continue to encourage the community to become involved and attend our school board meetings.

Our LISD schools and administration building will be closed next week to allow our staff time to refresh and spend the Fourth of July holiday with family. On behalf of the LISD Board of Trustees and the LISD family, we wish you all a wonderful Fourth of July!

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