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District prepares action plan for Green elem. following state rating

Hays CISD officials are developing an action plan this month for Tom Green Elementary after the school received a poor rating from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in August.

Low scores on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test left the elementary school with an Improvement Required (IR) rating. The STAAR test is a set of standardized exams to measure how much a student has learned in math, reading and writing and science each year. District officials believe literacy rates in the school are the root cause of the low scores.

Tom Green’s population has grown to 745 students; according to the district, 60 percent of those students are economically disadvantaged and 26 percent have a limited proficiency of the English language.

Jennifer Garcia, deputy academic officer, said some measures have already been taken to improve the campus. That includes the hiring of three more teachers, an assistant principal and a new principal. 

“One of the things we’re looking at is the literacy program,” Garcia said. “We’re looking at the Phonics program for (kindergarten through second grade) to ensure students have the foundational skills to read and improve literacy.”

Tim Savoy, chief communications officer for Hays CISD, said the district plans to implement more solutions similar to those used to raise the IR scores for Science Hall Elementary and Hemphill Elementary. Both schools are now rated as Met Standard. Science Hall received a B in the TEA’s new A-F accountability scale, while Hemphill received a C+.

“We were able to turn both of those schools around within a year,” Savoy said. “(For this plan) we’ll be including teacher and parent feedback, then the drafted plan will go before the school board.”

Upon receiving the low score, Superintendent Eric Wright sent a letter to parents indicating what he and district officials plan to improve the score, but also to appreciate what students have to offer outside of standardized testing.

“We will use the data from our report card to help us know when to offer enrichment or intervention in certain areas. The information from the standardized test has value, but it is only one piece of data,” Wright said in the statement. “The standardized test cannot measure when your child is kind or thoughtful, trustworthy, helpful or when they try their hardest to be their very best.”

Meetings for the improvement plan began Sept. 7 and will continue throughout the month. The Hays CISD Board of Trustees will solidify the plan during its Sept. 24 agenda review meeting.

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