Many of you in the district are aware that White Oak ISD received a Texas Education System Accountability Rating of “Improvement Required”. In the new system for 2013 there were only two possible ratings for a district and the individual campuses:
• Met Standard
• Improvement Required
It does not take long to determine that WOISD received the lower rating and begs the question, “What happened”? It is my intention to use this response to answer that question.
First, let me say that three of our four campuses Met Standard with flying colors and that, as a district, WOISD scored very high in three of four index areas measured. The District Scores were as follows:
• Index One – Student Achievement 89 points, 39 above the standard
• Index Two – Student Progress 32 points, 11 above the standard
• Index Three – Closing the Performance Gap 85 points, 30 above the standard
• Index Four – Post-secondary Readiness 72 points, 3 below the standard
In short, White Oak ISD scored very well in three of four measures and came up three points short in the fourth. Index Four is a High School and District indicator that measures High School Graduation Rate and the percentage of students graduating on the Recommended Plan or higher. The score below the standard in Index Four prompted our lower rating.
Why did we receive the low rating in Index Four? Post-secondary Readiness was determined on two measures – graduation rate and percent of students graduating on the Recommended or Distinguished Plan. In 2012, the year used for the rating, White Oak High School had a graduation rate of 95.7% and 56% of our senior class graduated Recognized or Distinguished. The 44% of our graduates on the Minimum Plan was too high by the State’s standard, and therefore, placed us below the Met Standard score.
The procedure for allowing a student to “opt-in” to the Minimum Graduation Plan requires a meeting with the student, parent/guardian and a school administrator. In this meeting, the student’s academic progress, long term goals and best placement options are discussed. If the student and parent/guardian believe that the minimum plan is the best pathway to graduation, all three entities are required to sign a document that permits the Minimum Plan to be put into effect.
To the issue of Post-secondary Readiness at White Oak ISD, our students’ success rate speaks for itself. Even in the ranks of students that opted for the Minimum Plan, fifty percent attended college, many at Kilgore. Most, if not all, made these choices based on economic factors not educational qualifying factors. We have students that have been accepted into four year Universities under the minimum plan, but that is the exception not the rule.
With all that being said, there are two points that I want to make very clear to all stakeholders in White Oak ISD.
• First, at no point in time has any member of the White Oak ISD Leadership Team or Faculty promoted and/or instructed any of our graduates to sign up for the Minimum Graduation Plan. The decisions to move this plan were made with all parties being fully aware of the ramifications of the change.
• Second, the numbers listed in the Four Indexes do not tell the complete story of who we are at White Oak ISD and/or all the measures of success that you as stakeholders should know and use to determine the effectiveness of your school district. For example, graduation data from the Class of 2012 is used to create this rating. This is the same class that won State Championships in Academics, Fine Arts and Athletics. These students did not specialize in one or two areas of “school” but chose to extend themselves to do all that they could and receive a well-rounded, life-shaping education. This is the same class that scored well above the state and national average on SAT and ACT exams. This is also the class that amassed almost 3 million dollars in scholarship offers at the time of graduation.
I want each and every person that reads this post to know that the Faculty, Staff and Administration at White Oak ISD have not failed you and/or your students. Our focus is on providing a quality education for a quality student and to prepare them for life in a 21st Century work environment. We will stay on top of this graduation plan issue and make sure that our students make educational choices based on needs/future plans and not convenience.
The next post you see from me will be to announce an addition to our website. We will post and continually update the events and accomplishments that are an indicator of what White Oak ISD is all about. As we move forward and continue to promote an open, transparent school district the use of this website will be of great value. The state’s accountability rating is what makes the paper but is the opinion and evaluation our parents and community members that matters most to all of us at White Oak ISD.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information. I hope it gives you good insight concerning our district and the work being done to provide the quality education your students deserve.