Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good News About High Stakes Testing?

After progress this week from the Texas House of Representatives, the future of high stakes testing and graduation reform is now in the hands of the Texas Senate. This week the House voted overwhelmingly to loosen high school graduation requirements and reduce required tests.
House Bill 5 reduces from 15 to five the number of end-of-course exams needed for high school graduation. It requires tests in algebra, biology, U.S. history and 10th-grade reading and writing. The bill also replaces the current "4x4" graduation plan - four years of English, math, science and social studies - with several different paths to a diploma.
The Senate's version echoes the House bill on graduation plans. It also reduces the high-stakes assessments to five but requires different tests.

This is a step in the right direction and is more in alignment with curriculum. I commend Rep. Aycock for his leadership.  Testing has gone beyond what is reasonable. Though we believe in being accountable for student learning and college preparation, testing should not drive every day of instruction.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spreading the Word About Our
Great School District, Mesquite

Realtors are often the first source for prospective buyers interested in moving into our district. That’s why I was pleased to speak at this week’s City of Mesquite’s Realtor Expo at the Mesquite Arts Center. In attendance were real estate agents and brokers from across the D/FW Metroplex.

Guests had the chance to learn what’s special about our community and schools from representatives of our city and other community leaders.

Here are some of the highlights from my presentation about Mesquite ISD:

We have a 95 percent high school completion rate, exceeding the state
   and region average.
- Our robust Career & Technical Education Program offers 14 areas of
  study, including marketing, automotive, cosmetology, hospitality and
  healthcare, among others.
- Our Technology Excellence Center will open next fall and offer a
  robotics and math course using solely project-based learning. An
  advanced video production class will also debut.
- Although Mesquite is an older, inner-ring suburb, our district
  enrollment is still growing and expected to continue doing so.
- The state continues to recognize our Board’s and administration’s
  efforts for being good stewards of taxpayer money. Although we have
  less funding than most of the districts in Texas, we stretch every dollar
  and are receiving results that in many cases surpass the state average.
- Some of our greatest strengths lie in the many partnerships and methods
  of outreach we have within our community.

What a great opportunity to showcase all that Mesquite has to offer in education, quality of life and more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Luck, Students!

It’s no secret that students all across Mesquite ISD are involved in district, regional, state and national competitions this semester. From Destination Imagination to All-State competitions and National History Fair among many others, our talented girls and boys are shining their talents in a full spectrum of academic, creative and athletic pursuits.

Each time I witness or hear about a student or student team’s success at any level, I am filled with great pride. I am thankful for their hard work and inspired that these extracurricular activities are actively shaping their personal growth.

Kudos to the coaches, parents, teachers and administrators who encourage participation and help these fine students reach new levels of proficiency and achievement.

Good luck, students!