October 16, 2012

Tina Veal-Gooch
Director of Public Relations
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

TISD Board of Trustees Approve Nash Elementary Expansion Reports Given on Financial Accountability and Student Academic Performance

Texarkana, TX – During their Tuesday, October 16, 2012 regular session, the Texarkana Independent School District Board of Trustees approved expansion of Nash Elementary School for the 2013-14 school year.

“I am pleased that our board has approved the expansion of Nash Elementary,” commented Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “Since 2007, the Nash campus student enrollment has grown by 41% - from 426 to 601. As Texarkana continues to grow to the west, this effort expands our capacity on the west end of the school district to allow for more student enrollment, not only in TISD but at Nash Elementary.”

The school expansion will include 9,833 additional square feet consisting of seven classrooms, student bathrooms, expanded cafeteria dining area, staff lounge and workrooms along with driveway and parking improvements for student drop-off and pick up. Site study work will begin in November with completion slated for May 2013. Expenditures for the expansion are not to exceed $2,000,000 and will come from the general fund.

Nash Elementary was constructed in 1967 and renovated in 2001. In 2009, TISD did a six classroom addition to the campus and in 2010 added a Tiger Learning Center day care program. The Nash campus is one of two bilingual program schools for TISD and focuses on building the foundation of tomorrow’s leaders through student study of Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in addition to their daily curriculum.

In other business a public hearing was held to announce findings from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Schools FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas). Nanette Power, Executive Director of Quality Assurance, reported that TISD has received the rating of Superior Achievement for quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources.

“For the tenth consecutive year, TISD has achieved the highest possible rating. Of the 20 indicators, TISD scored a perfect 70 out of a possible 70 points,” she shared. “In a time of extreme budget constraints and cutbacks from the state, TISD has been successful in maintaining balanced budgets and efficient use of resources. Achievement of this top rating is a direct result of those efforts.”

Additionally, board members were presented a 2011-12 Student Academic Performance report from Lori Ables, Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

Although, the Texas Education Agency has released raw scores for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test in grades 3-8, the passing standards will not be released until January 2013. End-of-Course scores for grade 9 have been established and passing standards are known. The testing track that students will follow is dependent upon when the student first entered ninth grade. Students entering grade 9 prior to 2011-12 are still on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS) track while those students entering grade 9 in 2011-12 will follow the STAAR track.

In areas of college readiness, Texas High School students increased their scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) by 15 points (1038) and exceeded the state average (973) by 65 points. In American College Test (ACT) scores, students remained in line with the state average of 20.8. Overall, scores on the SAT and ACT remain the highest averages for TISD students since 2001.

Through the Advanced Placement (AP) Program, TISD offers a significant opportunity for students with 23 AP courses and 33 Pre-AP courses. During the past year, AP course enrollment was 668, an increase of 329 course enrollments since 2001. For 2011-12, 114 students scored “3” or higher and 20 students received the highest score possible of “5”. Twenty-one were named AP Scholars, AP Scholars with Honor and AP Scholars with Distinction. A total of 136 students have received scholar distinction since 2000.

The AP Program allows high school students the opportunity to earn a minimum of 69 college semester hours of credit while in high school. Enrollment in the Advanced Placement Program provides an academic background that will better prepare students for college and the award of college credit hours during the high school years.

High school students must successfully complete the AP Exam in order to receive college credit for the course. Each college sets its own policy for the award of an AP credit, determining which score is successful and how much college credit will be awarded. Generally, colleges accept a score of “3” with credit ranging from three to six semester college hours per test.

Since AP courses are a part of the Texas High curriculum, there is no charge to the student for taking the AP course. A fee is required if a student chooses to take the exam for a subject; however, reduced fees for students qualifying for the Federal Lunch Program are available, and the state of Texas provides an additional reduced rate for all students.

Further reporting shows that Texas High School offers 45 courses approved within the Dual Credit program totaling 323 college semester hours of credit with 99 of those hours in academic courses. During 2011-12, the school had 717 course enrollments which is an increase of 62 course enrollments over the previous year and an increase of 542 course enrollments since 2002.

The Dual Credit program allows students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses and to earn high school as well as college credit for the completed coursework. The program provides a continuum of learning from high school to college for those students who choose to pursue a post-secondary degree or certificate after high school graduation. This continuum increases opportunities for students to progress through their programs of study at an accelerated pace.

With Dual Credit classes, students are required to pay college tuition for the courses. Need based scholarships are available through TISD for dual credit students who qualify.

The concluding portion of the student academic report focused on the three state graduation programs that Texas students may choose from. They are: Minimum Program, Recommended Program or Distinguished Achievement Program.

For the Texas High School 2012 graduating class, 25% attained the Distinguished Achievement Program level – an increase of 22% since 2001. This ranking is the highest diploma a student can earn in Texas. It requires advanced school work that reflects college or professional-level skills and a combination of four advanced measures – “3” or above on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, Research Project, Commended Scholar or higher on Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) and 3.0 or higher grade for college credit courses.

Fifty-seven percent of graduates achieved the Recommended Program level – an increase of 10% since 2001. This level of diploma is for those students who earn twenty-six course credits, including four credits each of Math, Science, Social Studies and English Language Arts. Recommended Program level graduates must not only pass their classes but must also complete passing standards for the Exit Level TAKS exams.

Texas High School also had 82% of students named Texas Scholars – an increase of 36% since 2001. This achievement level must be a graduate who has completed the Distinguished Achievement Program or the Recommended High School Program and who has completed at least two college credit courses while in high school.

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