Working Overtime On STAAR

MISD Campuses Working Overtime With Students
Posted on 03/08/2018
This is the image for the news article titled MISD Campuses Working Overtime With StudentsThe first round of the annual State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests are about one month away, but Marshall ISD campuses have already gone into overdrive preparing students and parents for the upcoming state assessment exams.

From after-school tutorials to parent academies to even school on Saturdays, Marshall students are gearing up for STAAR with a focused attention on attacking and improving MISD’s overall performance on the state-mandated accountability assessments.

Most of MISD’s campuses are offering tutorials after school, along with extra attention given to students in need during the day. It is an intense, focused effort district-wide, led by the MISD Department of Curriculum and Instruction, to give all Marshall students every conceivable opportunity to feel comfortable and confident heading into testing season.

Curriculum and Instruction personnel, including instructional coaches and curriculum coordinators, have been working side-by-side with teachers in the classroom. The goal is to identify as many students as possible who may need extra help, and to give them an opportunity to get that help when needed.

Campuses have been providing after-school tutoring opportunities and, in some cases, Saturday school in order to achieve this goal.

At Sam Houston Elementary School, principal Jerry Hancock said even just one hour of extra instructional time, on a voluntary basis after school, is already paying huge dividends on his campus.

“Our goal is to support our students as much as possible, in any way possible,” said Hancock. “We are currently offering after-school tutorials in writing and math, as well as reading. Teachers invite students to attend based on academic need from our spring benchmark testing results. Most of the students who are invited to attend do attend and work extremely hard.”

Hancock added that his campus also focuses on what he terms “built-in tutoring” during the day in daily PrimeTime sessions.

Price T. Young Elementary School offers tutorials four days a week after school, with Tuesday and Thursday sessions focusing on reading and math serving over 100 students over three grade levels. Attendance during the Monday and Wednesday sessions are not as well-attended, something principal Nakeisha Adams-Pegues hopes to improve in the coming weeks.

“We offer bus transportation on Tuesday and Thursday for our students, but our parents have to come pick their children up on Monday and Wednesday and I think that has had a lot to do with the lower numbers,” Pegues said. “We have sent out a new round of letters to parents and hopefully we will see more students take advantage of the extra help on those two days.”

Pegues said students are invited to participate based off of data from spring benchmark tests, teacher recommendations and parental request.

“The goal in offering tutorials is for our students to be successful on STAAR,” she said. “If we are able to help them now, it will lower the number of students who need to attend summer school.”

At William B. Travis Elementary School, principal Loyed Jones said they have engaged in both after-school tutorials and Saturday sessions. There has been a good response, as extended day tutorials average around 60 students with another 30 or so taking advantage of the Saturday School.

“We have had a good response,” Jones said. “Participation is about 30 percent of our students who will take STAAR. With that number, we try to keep the student-to-teacher ratio at about 4:1 in order to ensure as much focused attention as possible. Our goal with the extra sessions is to accelerate growth as determined by student performance on common assessments and benchmarks. We track results for each student on our data room wall and we look for trends. Students are then invited to attend tutorials on a voluntary basis. We do not have students attending without an invitation.”

Marshall Junior High’s “Maverick Success Academy” includes extra tutorials after school Monday through Thursday from 3-5 p.m., and a Saturday school from 8-10 a.m.

“We are offering whatever support or assistance our students need to ensure that all can succeed,” said Yolonda Martin, MJHS principal. “The Maverick Success Academy offers small group and hands-on instructional strategies for students that failed second semester core classes or have not passed STAAR. We have been identifying students who are struggling and sent home letters to the first round of identified students. This process will continue. Students cannot continue to fall behind each year. Therefore, we have several opportunities and expectations in place to prevent grade retention.”

In addition to the extra tutoring, MISD has been hosting a series of Parent STAAR Academies at each campus to communicate teaching strategies with parents so they can also help their student at home. More of these academies will be coming up throughout the month of March in advance of testing season.

The first round of 2018 STAAR testing is scheduled for April 10-13, with the following schedule:

• April 10: 4th Grade Writing; 7th Grade Writing; 5th Grade Math; 8th Grade Math; English I at MHS

• April 11: 5th Grade Reading; 8th Grade Reading

• April 12: English II at MHS

• April 13: Makeup day; All makeup sessions for STAAR assessments scheduled to be administered from April 10-12 must be completed by the end of this day.

The second round of STAAR assessments is scheduled for the week of May 14-18.