San Benito schools make the grade

SAN BENITO — During the past two years, the San Benito school district has met the standard defined by Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings.

This year is no different. Preliminary results show the district has met that standard again.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, program, which was implemented in spring 2012, includes annual assessments for reading, mathematics, writing, science, social studies and end-of-course assessments.

During Tuesday’s board meeting Gina Ortiz, director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, presented her findings to the board.

Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega stressed the results as preliminary because they are still subject to change while schools all over the state continue to finalize scores.

It’s important to know where the district stands this far, Vega said.

Every grade level showed gains this year.

The way scores are generated has changed over the years. Ortiz said the state has raised the bar.

“Students are expected to get a higher percentage correct in order to meet the standard,” she said.

In grades three through five, students showed a 7-point increase, with 69 percent meeting the standard.

State requirements require a campus to score above 60 percent in order to pass or meet the standard.

In grades sixth through eighth, students showed an 11-point increase from last year, with 62 percent meeting the standard.

At the high school level, students are held accountable based on the end-of-course examinations in five subject areas.

Combined, all three campuses, Gateway Academy, San Benito High School and Veterans Memorial Academy, met standards at 69 percent.

Individually, Ortiz noted that Gateway Academy scored a 49 percent, surpassing their required score of 35 percent.

Ortiz said she should get more information on the scores by September.

School board members were pleased with the preliminary results.

Board President Anna Cruz said she would like to implement a district goal.

“I know these scores are based on the 60 percent. Sixty is low. Let’s set our standards higher to 80 percent,” she said.

For Vega, these scores fit perfectly for what he said the district is trying to do with the curriculum audit.

“We met standards and we did that without a district-wide curriculum,” he said.

“We are taking the necessary steps to move in that direction and we will set the district standards higher for next year.”