As the Texas Education Agency released school accountability ratings Thursday morning, Nacogdoches ISD leaders continued honing plans to raise the district’s academic level.
The state reported the same story as theJune release of STAAR scores thatset the 2014-15 academic plan in motion — more students need to pass the standardized test but progress is being made as students are coming closer to passing.
“Our community faces an academic deficit that only may be overcome through ownership of the problems,” said Dr. Fred Hayes, Nacogdoches ISD superintendent. “We must all commit to finding and implementing long-term plans where our students can be successful in school and in life.”
The district’s 2013-14 ratings that included five schools receiving “improvement required” ratings — Martin Educational Center, McMichael Middle School, Emeline Carpenter Academy of Technology and Science, Fredonia Elementary and Thomas J. Rusk Academy of Fine Arts. The culmination of school scores led the district to also receive an “improvement required” rating after it missed only one of four targets by a single point.
However, there were high points in the report, as well. Five schools received “met standard” ratings — Nacogdoches High School, Mike Moses Middle School, Brooks-Quinn-Jones Elementary School, Nettie Marshall Academy of Dual Language and Raguet Elementary School. The high school received two distinct designations for its academic achievement in math and its post secondary readiness.
District leaders spent the summer hiring staff, training in effective learning and classroom management measures, and developing plans centered on improving student success. Four new principals, each with experience, will lead “improvement required” campuses — Jerry Winfield at the Martin School of Choice, Jonathan Kegler at Emeline Carpenter, Nancy Chapa at Fredonia and Shirley Jolley at Thomas J. Rusk.
A newly constructed academic plan focuses heavily on reading and math:
• Development of an NISD reading philosophy;
• Teacher training and support with extra attention for new and struggling teachers;
• Lessons formatted to support new and struggling teachers;
• An extended school day for students who fall below the district-required reading or math level;
• Summer Reading Camp for kinder through fifth grade students who meet requirements;
• Contracts for parents whose children struggle with reading that have the parents read to their child every night for 20-30 minutes.
Dr. Hayes said he fully believes the combination of experienced staffing, a strong academic plan and community ownership will go a long way toward addressing the academic deficit. He encouraged those who are interested in being part of a parent, business or community effort to support the effort to volunteer within one of the schools or to call the District Support Center at 936-569-5000.