Monday, September 22, 2008

Here's a Radical Thought .....

How does a Midland school rated "Unacceptable" by the TEA, regain its standing and climb back up to "Acceptable" status, and beyond?

Is it possible that, beside the programs and the projects, besides the teachers and the administrators, the kids themselves may also be part of the solution?

In particular, I'm talking about Midland Freshman High School, where the current class of students has more than a little experience with reversing bad ratings from the state, and achieving top marks from same.

Among them are students from San Jacinto Junior High School, an "Unacceptable" campus the year before, that has since moved up. The year before that, the state ruled Goddard Junior High "Unacceptable," but that was turned around as well, due in part to the achievement of students who now attend Midland Freshman.

And how about the other end of the spectrum? Midland's last "Exemplary" campus was Washington Math/Science Magnet, where the exemplary Mr. Baeza is principal. Some of those students are now at Midland Freshman. Also at MFHS are students from Midland's previous "Exemplary" campus, Fannin Elementary School, where the exemplary Mr. Van Stavern (now retired) was principal.

You even have students at Midland Freshman, now, who helped one campus achieve "Exemplary" status, then later helped another campus climb out of "Unacceptable" status.

So, this year, Midland Freshman now has students - both campus-wide, and in the various sub-groups - whose achievement on those all-too-important (to me, at least) TAKS tests, and other benchmarks, helped our campuses reach the TEA's highest rankings, and helped other campuses move up from the lower rankings. Granted, this is only part of the solution for MFHS ... but it's one that doesn't come up often in discussion of the problem.


Damien Franco said...

Here's another radical thought.

Why not increase the arts and music programs at our schools?

The students will benefit from creative learning and creative problem solving, instead of just learning how to pass tests.

Those are the real skills that will benefit them in the real world.

Jeff said...

Damien, a very good point.

One upcoming move in that direction will be the opening of a third district-wide magnet school for the Midland ISD, one deovted to the arts.

Still it WOULD be wonderful to see them enhance arts and music programs district-wide, where ALL students could devlop those skills you mention.