10:27am

Tue May 15, 2012
Education

Education: Abilene ISD Ratings

Providing a quality education for every student takes dedication and understanding of each
individual child. Public schools are responsible for thousands of growing minds each day. Do they
live up to the responsibility? KACU’s Meagan Freeman looks into the our community and examines
Abilene ISD.

 

-Transcript-

 

Giving our children a quality education, it is the most important thing we can do for the next
generation. What will happen if we fail to give these children what they deserve?

Lately, we've been hearing about underperforming school districts in the news.

Like the latest case involving two Houston area school districts. Both districts were given warnings
from the Texas Education Agency. The schools were given one year to make academic and financial
changes or their doors would be closed.

See, The Texas Education agency give schools accountability ratings based on standardized test
scores, like the newest test to be introduced. The STAAR exam. Ratings range from unacceptable
academically acceptable, recognized and exemplary. Anything less than acceptable results in a
warning. If the school doesn't make the necessary adjustments, a number of things can happen. From
bussing students to higher-performing schools, bringing new staff, to in sever cases, closing the school.

You're probably wondering, where does Abilene ISD stand? I spoke about Abilene ISD's standing
with school board member, Charlie Wolfe. He said the school is currently ranked as academically
acceptable.

SB: “I think we are doing a whole lot of things right, but we also have room for improvement.”

It is important to understand that a district's performance is directly related to the student's
performance. Abilene ISD knows this and takes this into consideration when implementing programs.

SB: “They have a better idea of what resources they have available to them to address each individual
student's needs and shortcomings.”

The schools also take into consideration the fact that the student's performance is affected by a variety
of home life factors, such as their economic status.

SB: “Your lower income students have issues you have to deal with. They could be coming to school
hungry or they could be coming to school with other things weighing on their mind. Abilene is working
effectively in that regard, with 60% of the kids in that category. That is a major issue in AISD and I
think AISD Is addressing that.”

Is the AISD efforts working? The proof is the in the numbers.

SB: “Our completion rates in the past two years have soared and one of the categories the state ranks
you in is the economically disadvantaged group.”

So what exactly are Abilene's school doing to keep the rates hight? Well, Wolfe says it isn't just one
thing, but a mixture of programs and efforts to help each student. He says the schools will do pretty
much anything to help students get the most out of their education.

SB: “It's the principal saying 'hey, if your mom and dad is interested in your education and they work
during the day and they can't meet with me during school hours, give me a call and I'll come up here at
9 o'clock at night and meet with them.”

For some students everyday can be a struggle at school. Wolfe spoke about an unusual incident in 2010
where Abilene ISD was rated academically unacceptable.

SB: “The district had one of it's categories of completion rates fall below 75% and as a result it caused
the entire district to be judged in that unacceptable category. Since then all of our completion rates have
been in the 90's.”
That was then, as of now Abilene ISD has raised their rates and are now considered acceptable. Wolfe
said the district used 2010 as a learning experience and the schools strive everyday for excellence.

SB: “We are fine tuning it and doing it better now and fewer kids are falling through the cracks.”

Here in Abilene we are fortunate to have schools providing students with a fair opportunity at an
education. For KACU News, I'm Meagan Freeman.