Lamar The First HISD Comprehensive High School To Earn “Recognized” Rating Under Current System

August 1, 2008

The state of Texas announced today that 156 HISD schools earned the highest academic ratings under the state’s accountability system, nearly double last year’s number. Lamar High School became the first traditional, comprehensive public high school in HISD to earn a rating of recognized under the current Texas school accountability system. Lamar was rated Academically Acceptable in the previous four school years.

“Change in institutions is often one of the most difficult things for a school community to embrace,” said Lamar High School Principal James McSwain. “We have to realize that, while some things will always remain constant, our society and our kids change every year. At Lamar, we have worked extremely hard to put into action the vision and direction set by Dr. Saavedra and our central and regional administration. It has required our entire staff, our students, and our parents to work together and accept different ways of doing things. I really cannot say enough about how hard the Lamar staff has worked and about their exceptional willingness to look beyond the way we’ve always done things.”

The number of HISD schools rated as “Exemplary” or “Recognized” by the Texas Education Agency is up 86 percent from last year when 84 HISD schools earned either of the top two ratings from the state.

Another 105 HISD schools met the state standard for achievement, earning a rating of “Academically Acceptable.” All totaled, 95 percent of HISD schools met or exceeded the state standard this year. The district as a whole was rated as academically acceptable again this year.
Record high ratings at HISD

“Our students have made enormous academic progress, thanks to the hard work of teachers and staff and administrators and the school board who have focused with laser-like intensity on the individual academic growth of every child,” Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra. “These ratings aren’t just good – they are historic. The people of Houston should be very proud of their public school system.”

“Twenty one years ago, in 1987, 70 percent of our schools were scoring at the bottom on the state standardized tests. Today’s results show that five percent of our schools are now in the lowest performing category, and more than half of HISD schools are now in the state’s top two performance categories,” said HISD Board President Harvin Moore. “The transformation of urban education is a long-term process, and we have a long way still to go, but at the end of the day it’s great teaching that makes the difference. Our hats are off to our hard-working teachers and support staffs who are keeping us on the road to ultimate success.”

Fourteen percent of HISD schools earned the state’s highest academic rating, Exemplary, including Carnegie Vanguard High and the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. West U. Elementary retained its Exemplary rating and T.H. Rogers earned an Exemplary rating for the first time since the 2005-05 school year. Also rated Exemplary were River Oaks Elementary, The Rice School, Twain Elementary and Pin Oak Middle.

Pershing Middle School has been rated Academically Acceptable for the fifth year in a row, along with Bellaire High School.

The state accountability system assigns ratings to every campus and district in the Texas public education system each year. In most cases the system assigns one of four rating labels—ranging from lowest to highest—Academically Unacceptable, Academically Acceptable, Recognized, and Exemplary.
To determine the rating label, the system evaluates indicators of performance, including assessment results on the state standardized assessment instruments as well as longitudinal completion rates and annual dropout rates. Generally, campuses and districts earn ratings by having performance that meets absolute standards or by demonstrating sufficient improvement toward the standard.
In addition to evaluating performance for all students, the performance of individual groups of students is held to the rating criteria. The student groups are defined to be the major ethnic groups and the group of students designated as economically disadvantaged. All of the evaluated groups must meet the criteria for a given rating category in order to earn that label.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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