Lockhart students make big strides in TAKS
By LPR Staff
Lockhart Independent School District students are approaching a level of excellence where they might earn the district a Texas Education Agency (TEA) Recognized status.
According to Assistant Superintendent James Rabe, students have shown marked improvements in test scores, despite a few hiccups in testing last year.
“We are only one content area away from being a recognized district,” Rabe said, explaining science tests continue to stymie students at most levels. “The problem with science is that the test asks you to think scientifically, rather than to memorize scientific information.”
Historically, he said, science has been taught and learned from a content-memorization standpoint, rather than an analytical one. He believes difficulty in merging the two schools of thought are the chief hurdle LISD students have yet to overcome.
Trustee Timoteo “Tim” Juarez, Jr., grilled Rabe on students” seeming inability to maintain levels of success attained at the elementary and junior high levels and carry that success through to high school. For several years, Lockhart Junior High School has been a TEA Recognized campus, while scores at the higher levels have fallen short.
“I don”t see the same attitudes at the higher levels as I do at the Junior High,” he said. “It”s an attitude of lessened interest in education and in the rules as the kids move forward to the higher grades.”
Rabe said he believes the problem to be surmountable, but it will require a meeting of the minds between teachers, administrators, students and parents.
“Our teachers are extremely knowledgeable in the tests,” he said. “And I”ve been observing outside classrooms to see how the instructional time is being used… But we”re going to need the cooperation of the students and the parents to bring these scores up.”
Rabe also noted there are around 60 seniors this year who have not met their TAKS requirements and are in danger of not being allowed to graduate.
“We know who these kids are, how many questions they lack and what their problem areas are,” he said. “And we are working with and tutoring those students.”
In other business, the board engaged in an extensive discussion regarding the Athletic Director positions in the district.
For the last three years, the Athletic Department has operated with two directors, one for boys” and one for girls” sports. Both maintain coaching and some teaching duties, along with their director responsibilities. Some trustees believe it might be time for a change.
“I don”t know that it”s the most fiscally responsible thing to have the two directors,” Juarez said. “And I don”t know what the benefits have been to the programs.”
The board asked for information regarding merging the position into one director with no coaching responsibility, one position with coaching responsibilities, or maintaining the current setup.
Trustee Juan Alvarez, whose son is an athlete, warned Athletic Director Troy Moses that his decisions on the board should not be reflected in coaches” treatment of his child on the field, eliciting shock not only from members of the audience, but from some board members, as well.
After a request from a rival district earlier this year, the board examined upgrading the district”s athletic facilities to achieve Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. After a review, it was determined that several LISD facilities do not meet ADA standards. The cost to complete all suggested upgrades is estimated at some $80,000.
Interim Superintendent Jack Cockrill suggested the board hold off on any decision making until incoming superintendent Tom Bailey takes the district”s helm in January. The board decided to move forward with upgrading the athletic facilities, at a cost of around $20,000, and examining other facilities at a later date.
In brief board news:
Based on their achievements and growth in TAKS test scores, particularly in math, Navarro Elementary was recognized by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the state”s top elementary schools.
The board commended Coach Scott Hippensteel and the Lockhart Lions Boys Cross Country team for their excellence this season.
They recognized the winners of the Plum Creek Elementary School Science Fair.
The board began the annual budget process by approving a budget calendar and discussing a variety of improvements to be made to LISD campuses in the coming year.
The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center.