The ranking was based on local African-American third graders’ reading scores on a statewide achievement test, and the school must present the state with a plan for how GISD is improving scores, said School Supt. Rick Albritton.
Elementary School Principal John Wink, who is in his second year at his post and was not working at Gilmer ISD when the school received the Unacceptable rating, told the board his campus has shown “amazing improvements” in scores.
The Unacceptable rating was based on student scores on the 2011 TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test, which the state has since replaced with a test called STARS (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness). Gilmer Elementary pupils took that test this year.
Based on TAKS standards—the requirement for passing STARS has not yet been announced—Gilmer Elementary showed improvement in all areas, Wink told the board. That ranged from six percent in the total student body to a 39 percent improvement in African-American third graders’ results, he said.
The only concern is African-American pupils’ math scores, which are still short of a desired “threshold” despite major improvement, Wink said.
Albritton said African-American students’ scores had improved from 62 percent mastering reading to 78, and from 60 percent to 74 percent mastering mathematics (based on how many would have passed the test under TAKS standards).
“The teachers are doing a fantastic job. They deserve all the credit,” Wink told trustees. He said they were responding to students with “targeted interventions” and that the school was focusing on teacher development.
On Tuesday, Wink told The Mirror that under the old TAKS standards, his campus “would have been pretty close to a Recognized rating” after the STARS test. He praised teachers and students alike, saying his “outstanding” faculty is “working hard to meet the needs of every single student in the building.”