February 27, 2009
White Oak ISD
The National Center for Educational Excellence
There have been two articles in the Longview News-Journal over the past two weeks that reference a study and awards given to local schools for educational excellence. The National Center for Educational Excellence recognized nineteen (19) area Elementary and Junior Highs for their efforts on TAKS Reading, Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies. Many of you noticed that there was not a White Oak ISD campus mentioned in the report.
The East Texas schools listed and recognized by the NCEE were selected in one of two categories. First, if the campus showed marked improvement over last years scores, they were placed on the list. This improvement could have come in one or more of the assessed areas. Second, a campus could be placed on the list based on sustained high achievement in one or more of the assessed areas. The campuses at White Oak ISD have regularly scored at very high levels on the TAKS Test and therefore are not eligible for the first measure to make the list. In looking at the list of schools that did receive recognition, it is my belief that the majority of the awarded schools were eligible through the first criteria.
The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of the outstanding efforts of our students at White Oak ISD. White Oak ISD is the only Texas Education Agency Recognized School District in Gregg and Smith County combined. There are 26 different grade level assessments (test) given to students in the public schools. Ninety (90) percent of your children passed 23 out of 26 of those test. WOISD scored in the 80% range on two tests and the 70% range on one. This is an outstanding effort. The second measure of success on TAKS is to see how many students answered 90% of the questions correctly on each test. This is called “Commended Performance”. The percentage of WOISD students that achieved Commended Performance was greater than the state average on 24 of 26 tests. The greatest thing about all of these numbers is that they are District Wide numbers. We did not pick out a certain high performing grade level and try to pass them off as the standard for all students. This is the standard for all students.
I would like to conclude by giving you some information about the task that our teaching staff is charged with on a daily basis. Bill Daggett is the Founder of a national education “think tank” that evaluates education in many different ways. Dr. Daggett spoke in Longview several months ago and his data revealed some interesting facts about the process of educating Texas public school students. Texas teachers are required to cover a set of educational standards called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Students are then tested to see if they have learned the TEKS by taking the Texas Assessment of Knowledge ad Skills (TAKS). Dr. Daggett reports that the sheer volume of required standards is greater than anywhere else IN THE WORLD! That is correct; your children are being exposed to more required pieces of information than any of the so called “New Leaders in Education” from around the world. You can do your own research by looking at the home page of The International Center for Leadership in Education. White Oak ISD is committed to the education of all the children in the district. I want each of you to know that your children are being taught by an outstanding group of educators. I also want you to know that great teachers require the effort of great students. The student population at White Oak is the true treasure of this district. The motto at WOISD is much more than just words; it is what we believe;
A Heritage of Pride, Tradition, and Educational Excellence!
Michael E. Gilbert
Superintendent of Schools
White Oak ISD