Hemphill improvement plan targets literacy

Accountability and student progress across multiple grade levels is the focus for Hays CISD leaders after they unanimously approved a Targeted Improvement Plan forHemphill Elementary Oct. 23.

The trustees’ move was done via a 7-0 vote and comes after Hemphill was listed as “Improvement Required” by the Texas Education Agency for the second year in a row. Hemphill, along with Science Hall Elementary, were listed as IR campuses by the TEA in 2017.   

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools Alejandro Gongora presented the process in how the district’s Campus Improvement Team (CIT) created Hemphill’s TIP.

According to board documentation, “the development of the TIP will focus on literacy professional development and professional learning communities campus-wide with an in-depth look at 3rd-5th reading and writing data.”

Gongora added that the issue of Hemphill falling below the state standard for the second year in a row was not just a 3rd through 5th grade issue, but a pre-k through 5th grade issue.

“Unfortunately they (Hemphill) did not meet standard when it comes to our state accountability system, so we are now entering Year 2 of Improvement Required at Hemphill Elementary,” Gongora said.

Gongora cited an inconsistent system in accountability as the reason to update last year’s TIP for Hemphill. He provided a TEA format spreadsheet detailing short term, intermediate and long term goals for the school to meet in order to improve.

Gongora said the TIP was broken down into the three areas where Hemphill students need improvement.

Those domains encompass student achievement, student progress and closing performance gaps.

Gongora said the addition of human capital to the new TIP could help the campus meet performance goals. Examples of human capital include instructional coaches, interventionists who work with students, and an administrative team working in classrooms.

Gongora said Hemphill Elementary has the highest number of economically disadvantaged students as well as the highest number of Hispanic students in the district. But, he added, there were many positives at the campus.

“There’s some challenges, but there’s good things going on at that campus too,” Gongora said.

Board trustee Esperanza Orosco said she didn’t want the special education population at Hemphill to be forgotten in the TIP discussion. She said teachers within the program require specific training at times to meet certain teaching requirements.

“I want to commend Hemphill for their work on this TIP, it’s whole, focused, complete, realistic and well thought out,” Orosco said. “I really appreciate the hard work y’all have done on it.”

Board Trustee Willie Tenorio was thankful for the hard work and attention to detail that the “Team OMG” from Hemphill Elementary had put into the TIP.

Board President Merideth Keller said she was looking forward to the weekly updates to the TIP, as promised by Gongora.

The TIP is a “living” document and the Hemphill Campus Improvement Team would be updating it weekly, Gongora said.

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