As you are aware, testing across the state has taken a very different look. For the first time, we are administering the STAAR test to our students and our freshmen are now taking end-of-course (EOC) exams to satisfy graduation requirements. Other high school students will continue to take the TAKS exams as they matriculate to graduation. Originally, the state had mandated that the end of course exams had to also count as 15% of the students final course grade. However, because the passing standards have not yet been set and much is still in transition with the new exams, the state has now allowed districts to defer that provision until next year. Subsequently, our Board elected to adopt a resolution that defers the 15% rule to next year.
What hasn’t changed is the assistance we continually seek from our parents school communities in advance of the exams. It is extremely important that our children be in school each and every day to receive the maximum amount of instruction. By all accounts, these exams at both the elementary and secondary levels are more complex and rigorous than before. Students need to gain every advantage afforded to them and do their best to be at school. On test days please also ensure that your student is well rested and calm and on-time. One of the biggest changes to the format of the exams is that they are now timed. Students will no longer be able to take unlimited time to finish. Being well rested will allow them to finish in the allotted four hour time.
Standardized testing in our state, while important, has become quite an issue of late. Even Commissioner Robert Scott has stated that the overemphasis on high stakes testing has become “a perversion of its original intent.” Our Board, along with hundreds of others across the state, has adopted a resolution concerning high stakes, standardized testing. It calls for the Texas Legislature to “reexamine the public school accountability system in Texas and to develop a system that encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.”
On another note, recently, I visited every school and department to share the “State of the District.” Although we have some areas to work on, I am pleased to inform you the District is doing just fine. We have been a “Recognized” district for three consecutive years now and our financial outlook is stable and secure. In these tough economic times, we have managed to avoid the layoffs facing other districts and still provide a first-class, quality education to our students. Certainly, this could not have been accomplished without your help and support. Thank you!
Here’s hoping that you have a wonderful finish to such a great year in Clint ISD. Thanks once again for all you do on behalf of our students!
Your Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Gabaldon