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State says 14 schools in county are unacceptable - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

State says 14 schools in county are unacceptable

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Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014 12:45 am

Twelve Galveston County public school campuses made the state’s Academically Unacceptable list, while two more that made the list in 2011 remain listed as underperforming. 

The Galveston school district had the most schools on the list with six, while all three campuses of the High Island school district made the list.

Hitchcock also had three campuses on the list, while Dickinson and La Marque each had one campus on the list.

The Texas Education Agency released the failing schools list Thursday.

The list from the Texas Education Agency includes 892 schools in 2013, up from 456 the year before.

The Clear Creek, Texas City and Friendswood school districts did not have any campuses on the list.


‘No excuses’

in Galveston

Galveston’s Central Middle School and Weis Middle School, Parker Elementary, Early Childhood University and KIPP Costal Academy made the 2013 list of unacceptable schools. While Weis and Central were consolidated last year, the state still lists the campuses as separate entities.

Ball High school remained on the list from its low rating in 2011, even though this past year Ball High met state standards. While meeting standards, the high school had not made enough improvement in writing, however, according to state records.

Schools remain on the list for up to three years if not enough improvement is shown. 

“There are no excuses in Galveston,” Superintendent Larry Nichols said. “The truth is we have trained our leaders and our students have specific instructional plans, but quite a few of our students were behind and we’ve been catching them up.”

The district has extended its summer programs and introduced a balance literacy program at the middle school this year after implementing the program on the elementary level last year, Nichols said.

“We are not happy about being on the list,” Nichols said. “I wish we were in a better place. We are going to have to work our way off of it.”  


100% unacceptable in High Island

High Island also is working to get off the list after all of its campuses were found to be unacceptable.

“The administration and staff are currently working to help all of our students become successful through various initiatives,” Superintendent Karen Vonderau said. 

“Such as 1:1 technology, Study Island, Education City, small group tutoring, a tutorial period during the school day and benchmark testing.”

Vonderau also said that while all three campuses received an improvement-required rating, the district also received a waiver because it had met yearly progress benchmarks set by the state. Still, less than 50 percent of the students in elementary grades met standards for writing, reading and math, while writing got low marks at the high school and science scores were below par at the middle school.


Been here before

The Hitchcock school district had three campuses on the list, although the rating for the Primary School campuses carries over from two years ago. Given time, Superintendent Barbara Derrick said she expects the state ratings to improve.

The high school failed to meet standards in writing and science, while Stewart Elementary fell short in writing, according to state records.

“Hitchcock has unfortunately been on this list before,” Derrick said. “We are making gains in state accountability, but it will take time to reach the level required.

“We feel we are on the right track and expect to continue to see gains, but know, realistically, it will take time.”


La Marque High back on schools list

In La Marque, the high school remains on the  list after having received an unacceptable rating in 2011. It received yet another in 2013.

The state did not issue ratings in 2012.

La Marque’s issues remain the same; its completion rate does not meet state standards.

Using what it calls its Cohort program, the district is aiming to get that rate up above 75 percent, Assistant Superintendent Joanie Hudson said.

The district launched a weekly program to find dropouts and get them back to campus, she said. It also instituted an alternative education program, called LEAPS, that allows flexible school hours for dropouts earn their diplomas, as well as an in-home tutoring program to work with parents and students, Hudson said.


High scores not enough in Dickinson

Dickinson officials argued that an academically unacceptable rating at Hughes Road may be a bit unfair. The school scored high in all testing and benchmarks two years ago and stayed at that level this past year.

“Hughes Road Elementary far exceeded the required scores in Index 1 and Index 3,” spokeswoman Tammy Dowdy said. 

“In these categories, the schools performance was 27 points and 22 points above the targets. However, in Index 2, which measures progress from 2012 to 2013, the school was only one point below the acceptable standard.

“The school maintained their scores from 2012 to 2013 but did not meet their target because not enough students from third to fourth grade increased their scores by the required number of points.”


Unacceptable Galveston County schools


Galveston ISD

Ball High (continues from 2011)

Central Middle*

Early Childhood University

KIPP Coastal Academy

Parker Elementary

Weis Middle School*


High Island ISD

High Island High School

High Island Elementary

High Island Middle School


Hitchcock ISD

Hitchcock High School

Hitchcock Primary (continues from 2011)

Stewart Elementary


La Marque ISD

La Marque High School

Dickinson ISD

Hughes Road Elementary


* Weis and Central are one campus now, but the state still considers students as from separate campuses for sake of testing.

SOURCE: Texas Education Agency