Five Texoma schools on failing list; schools say list is outdated

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

GAINESVILLE, TX -- Gainesville High School showed up on the Texas Education Agency's Public Education Grant List in 2010 and 2011.

That means less than 50 percent of students passed the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). And means students can apply for a transfer.

But Gainesville Superintendent Jeffrey Brasher said the school has made major changes since then - including a new principal.

"As a matter of fact, we were at state or above in every single category. With the exception of one, and we were just two points below state average," he said.

But the school didn't get a chance to show it.

In 2012 Texas implemented a new test - the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). Since the test is in its first year, the state decided to wait a year before issuing new accountability results.

"A free year so to speak," Brasher said. "But it wasn't a free year to everyone, because we still had to keep the same rating we had in '10 and '11."

Also on the list are Aiken Elementary in Paris, Parish Junior High School, Roxton High School, Van Alstyne High School and Dillingham intermediate in Sherman.

Sherman ISD Assistant Superintendent Tyson Bennett said the old system - based on the TAKS - needed improvement.

"That system really characterized the quality of all schools based on their lowest performing group," he said.

The State plans to release a new accountability grading system this year, he said.

"It should do more than just characterize all schools based on the lowest performing student," Bennett said. "It should take into account more components than the old system did."

Both Bennett and Braiser said they want the new accountability system released, so they can prove their schools are better than the old ratings claim.

"There's a lot of great things going on at Dillingham and so we have some excellent teachers, and excellent programs going on over there, and so there are a lot of improvements being made, just like all of our schools," Bennett said. "And so we expect to see great things in the new accountability system."

The new accountability system is expected to come out for the 2013-2014 school year.

But some state legislators are lobbying to wait an additional year.

Brasher said he's working to get the new system started this year - to finally get past the old numbers.


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