NEWS HEADLINES

STAAR results mixed for district

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Decatur School Board Thursday got their first look at preliminary STAAR scores, and the results might be classified as mixed.

Overall, scores seemed to follow close to the state averages in the different testing categories for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. The results showed the district below average on 12 of the tests, above average on seven and within 1 percentage point of the state average on eight tests.

Compared to district scores last year, the first year of STAAR administration, the district saw a drop in test scores in 12 categories, an increase in seven tests and nearly the same results in five other tests.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Judi Bell also showed scores from the 2011 TAKS test that showed much higher passing rates to demonstrate the increased rigor of STAAR. She also pointed out that the only people to see the tests are the students on the testing day, but the state is expected to release the tests later this year.

The district’s best results came in Algebra I middle school end of course (EOC) where 100 percent passed the test. Students taking Algebra II EOC also had a 93 percent passing rate. On the eighth grade Reading test, 89 percent of students passed on the first attempt, higher than the state average of 84 percent.

Some of the lowest passing rates came in writing. Only 54 percent of students passed English I Writing EOC, but that was the same as the state average. English II Writing EOC saw a 50 percent passing rate, slightly below the 53 percent statewide passing rate. Third grade math scores were also an area of concern as 57 percent of students passed, well below the state passing average of 70 percent.

The Messenger plans to provide a more in-depth look at STAAR results once all local schools release their results.

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

A few administrative changes were announced at Thursday’s meeting. Gabe Keese will move from assistant principal to principal at Young Elementary. Debbie Boatwright is moving from Young to be the director of the District Alternative Education Placement (DAEP). Lana Thompson will move from an assistant principal position at Rann Elementary to the same position at Young. Kristi Hankins will become assistant principal at Rann.

BUS PURCHASE

The board also approved the purchase of a bus using money from the current year’s budget. Trustees authorized Superintendent Rod Townsend to spend up to $105,000 to purchase the bus. Next year’s budget is not expected to include money for a bus purchase. The money would be used from unspent funds and not fund balance.

In other business the board:

  • honored sixth grade math teacher Devon McCain as educator of the month and special education instructional aid Andrea Gray as support staff employee of the month.
  • heard comments by student Selina Torres regarding the teaching contract of high school teacher Carol Chapman during public forum. Torres said she and other students wanted Chapman to continue teaching at the high school.

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