When the Texas Education Agency released the 2006 accountability ratings, administrators of Huntsville ISD and New Waverly ISD were pleased to find an improvement over last year.

All five HISD elementary schools were named “recognized,” which is up two from 2005 when Stewart, Gibbs and Scott Johnson elementary schools earned the distinction. Huntsville Intermediate, Mance Park Middle School and Huntsville High School were named “academically acceptable.”

“I’m very encouraged, in fact delighted, with our elementary grade levels,” HISD Superintendent Richard Montgomery said. “All five of our (elementary) campuses were recognized, and when you consider the fact that the passing standards have gone up every year, it’s really an accomplishment. We’re really proud of that ,and our teachers and principals at each one of those campuses have worked hard to make sure that learning is taking place.”

NWISD nearly had all four of its campuses earn a recognized rating. The elementary, intermediate and junior high schools earned the distinction, and Superintendent Clay Webb said the high school was very close.

“We are real proud of them,” Webb said. “We have three recognized campuses and we expect to see a lot of gold performance awards for the high school on their improvement. We only had one area at the high school where we missed it, and I believe it was just by a point. If you look at it from a positive side, we made a tremendous gain to get there. The acceptable rating there is awfully close to being recognized.”

The mathematics and science portions of the TAKS have always been a struggle for students of any district, and it was no easier this year, when passing standards were once again increased.

For an acceptable rating on the 2006 TAKS, standards were increased by 10 points for English language arts/reading, writing, social studies and science and by five points for mathematics.

“High school science is always tough,” Webb said. “It’s a fairly new test, and we’re getting better and better at it every year. I really need to thank those science teachers, because I think their gain was around 30 points (over 2005).”

Webb said NWISD’s yearly increase in test scores can be attributed to the hard work of the teachers and the individual attention they are able to give to the students.

“We individualize accountability for every student and we try to keep a good check on where they are on their progress on a daily basis,” he said. “Our teachers are dedicated to being successful, they work extremely hard, and very intelligently, to get this thing done. We couldn’t be more pleased right now with the progress we’ve made.”

While both superintendents are pleased with the performances, there is still more work to be done.

“As far as the ratings are concerned, we’re shooting for 100 percent pass rate in every area,” Montgomery said. “Of course, once we get to a 90 percent pass rate, our campuses will be designated ‘exemplary’ and that’s the next step. We also want to look at the number of our students that have commended performance and we want to raise that percentage as well.”

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