Each of the Houston charter school’s three campuses met standards, with Southwest earning two designations of distinction and Northeast one.
Teachers and staff broke into applause when Dr. Margaret Stroud, Varnett’s interim superintendent, announced the results during a professional development meeting this week. Staff reported to work Monday in preparation for the start of school on August 24 for Prek through 5th grade students.
“This puts us one step closer to excellence,” Dr. Stroud said of the test results. “The teachers and students did a great job but they also know there’s still work to be done.”
The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, commonly referred to as STAAR, is a series of state-mandated standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools to assess a student's achievements and knowledge learned in the grade level.
The target scores for the district were 55 for student achievement in reading and science, 16 for student progress, 28 for closing performance gaps and 13 for postsecondary readiness. The district exceeded the targets by scoring 65, 33, 37 and 23, respectively, according to the Texas Education Agency, which reported the results.
East Campus was awarded "distinction designations" for academic achievement in reading, academic achievement in science, and postsecondary readiness. The campus also was acknowledged for placing in the top 25 percent in student progress and top 25 percent in closing performance gaps. Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams had excluded math results from being counted after having discussions with math teachers, parents and superintendents across the state about concerns with the new curriculum standards for that subject.
East Campus Director Gayle Voltz said early student assessment and consistent follow-through, after-school and Saturday tutorials, and mandatory parent meetings contributed to the five-star designation. She thanked the teachers and staff and particularly acknowledged Ms. Wyatt, the 3rd-5th grade curriculum coordinator, and Ms. Bhatt, the 4th grade teacher.
“Our team worked with our students the first week of school,” Ms. Voltz said, referring to early testing to determine where students stood academically after returning from summer vacation. “”Some schools wait weeks for this process to occur. I can’t wait around.”
Southwest earned distinctions in academic achievement in reading and closing performance gaps and Northeast was cited for academic achievement in science.
The ratings showed that 94 percent of school districts and charters across Texas met standards, the TEA said. Mr. Williams said in a statement that the statewide results “(reflect) well on our public education system and for the economic future of our state.”
Dr. Stroud said the goal for this coming school year is for the district to progress from “good to great.”