Failing Schools?

The following post is an opinion letter published in the Brattleboro, Vt Reformer. Great rebuttal to the “failing schools” crowd. I am always interested in the comments made by past generations concerning the short-comings of the students of the day.

Our Opinion: Groundhog Day all over again?
Posted: 08/23/2014 03:00:00 AM EDT0 Comments

It’s hard not to conclude that the skies over our public schools are falling around our children’s heads when we read headlines such as “U.S. lags many nations in math,” “U.S. students behind the curve,” “Math + test = trouble for U.S. economy,” “Crisis in education,” and “U.S. high school seniors rank near bottom.”
Or how about this, from the New York Times: “… a large majority of (college) students showed that they had virtually no knowledge of elementary aspects of American history (and) could not identify such names as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, or Theodore Roosevelt … Some students believed that George Washington was president during the War of 1812 … ”
Sound familiar? As if you just read them yesterday? Now, let’s go back to our opening paragraph. The first three headlines come from newspapers published on Dec. 7, 1941; the fourth headline comes from a 1958 edition of Life magazine; and the fifth comes from the Washington Post in 1998. And that quote from the New York Times? 1943?
As Gerald W. Bracey noted, the “our-schools-are-failing” narrative is America’s version of the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.”
“Americans keep waking up to headlines declaring that, apparently for the first time ever, the public school sky is falling,” wrote Bracey.
As former No Child Left Behind supporter Diane Ravitch has noted “Reformers in every era have used the schools as punching bags.”
And this debate over whether our schools really have been failing has been going on since at least the 1820s, noted Peter Schrag.
“The debate is driven … by our favorite myths: That there was once a golden age, an era when schools maintained rigorous academic standards, when all children learned, when few dropped out and most graduated on time; that sometime in the past generation or so … the system began to fall apart … leaving America helpless against superior foreign education; and that the large amounts of new money that have gone to the schools in the past generation have largely been wasted,” wrote Schrag … in 1997.
In “Reign of Error,” Ravitch wrote that in the 1940s, reformers complained that the schools were obsolete. In the 1950s, reformers said that the schools had forgotten the basics and needed to raise academic standards. In the 1960s, they said that the schools were too academic and that students were stifled by routine and dreary assignments. In the 1970s came the rise of minimum competency testing, and in 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education stated we were “a nation at risk” because of the low standards and low expectations in our schools.
“Our national slippage was caused, said the commission, by ‘a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.'”
Ravitch, who is a fierce critic of the corporatization of our public school system, also known as the charter school movement, noted that critics of America’s schools fail to acknowledge that not only have our schools changed since the founding of this great nation, but so have the demographics of the families our schools are called upon to educate.
Despite the rhetoric coming from the right-wing and libertarian think tanks, our schools are not in decline.
“(T)hose who now sharply criticize the public schools speak fondly of an era when most schools were racially segregated; when public schools were not required to accept children with physical, mental, and emotional handicaps; when there were relatively few students who did not speak or read English; and when few graduated from high school and went to college.”
Despite America’s success at integrating and educating people from every nation and culture on the planet, the proponents of school privatization trot out the same old scare stories such as the ones at the beginning of this editorial.
Why? As then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and University of California regent Ward Connerly noted in an editorial in 1997, “despite spending trillions of dollars on education over the past 30 years, American children are further behind today.”
Many people hiding under the cloak of “reform” stopped listening after “trillions of dollars.”
“If the American public understood that reformers want to privatize their public schools and divert their taxes to pay profits to investors, it would be hard to sell the corporate idea of reform,” wrote Ravitch. “If parents understood that the reformers want to close down their community schools and require them to go shopping for schools, some far from home, that may or may not accept their children, it would be hard to sell the corporate idea of reform.”
But, as Ravitch notes, there are problem schools with low test scores, low graduation rates and high levels of violence. What do all of those schools have in common? Poverty and high concentrations of racial minorities.
“Children who are poor receive less medical attention and less nutrition and experience more stress, disruption, and crises in their lives,” wrote Ravitch. “These factors have an ongoing and profound effect on academic performance. Unfortunately, many people are unwilling to address the root causes of poor school outcomes, because doing so is either too politically difficult or too costly.”
Too many of us have bought into the hyperbole that the private market can do a better job at educating our students and that our war on poverty has been a failure. We’ve been desensitized to the plight of the most vulnerable members of our community and we’ve been pitted against each other to the point we fail to see the real villains in our midst. It’s not the poor and the hungry, it’s the people who would pull the wool over our eyes while enriching themselves, leaving the rest of us holding the bag.

Safety at White Oak ISD

Safety is our top priority.

At the Town Hall Meeting on January 6, 2013, I spoke to a group of concerned White Oak Stakeholders about the safety and security of our students. The conversations had two main parts.
First, we discussed the procedures and culture in place at White Oak ISD that help to ensure our students can receive a high quality education in a safe learning environment. I want to assure you that we continue to train, practice and review policies and procedures that deal with specific threats to or students be they natural or man made in origin. Along with our fire drills, shelter-in-place drills and foul weather contingencies, we also conducted the district’s first mock evacuation drill designed to move every member of the student body, faculty and staff out of the district. School district personnel and local first responders were involved in this process. The drill was successful and very informative to everyone involved.
Second, we had a discussion about areas of concern with regard to the facilities at all grade levels. Since the meeting in January 2013, WOISD has been involved in a wide spread upgrade with security in mind. Over eighty-three (83) security cameras have been installed in the district. These cameras are high resolution and all activity is stored on a DVR for an extended period of time. These cameras record activity in all the main traffic areas inside our campuses, entryways and a majority of the parking areas in the district. Monitors are in place at each campus office and the administration building. The district has installed fifty-two (52) new doors in the district. The majority of the new doors are “exit only” doors that do not have any hardware on the exterior. The doors cannot be opened from the outside. All entry-level doors are now equipped with programmable locks that allow the campus to restrict access to the building and monitor who is coming in during the instructional day. The Intermediate and Middle School have new entrances that direct traffic into the office before entering the instructional areas.
It is my belief, and that of the Board of Trustees, that these improvements have greatly increased the physical plant security at White Oak ISD. These improvements combined with an engaged community, a positive relationship with all first responders and a well trained/caring district workforce come together to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the educational success of the students at White Oak ISD.
As we prepare to begin the 2014/2015 school year, I hope this information is helpful to everyone sending their young people to school each day. The faculty, staff and administrative team at White Oak ISD is fully aware that no plan is perfect and can not guarantee the complete safety of your children while they are at school. What we can do is plan, prepare and provide an environment that is the safest place your children can be in White Oak, Texas at any given time.
It is a privilege to serve as Superintendent of Schools at White Oak ISD. I look forward to all that is in store for our students and our community in the coming year.

White Oak ISD’s Response to PEG Listing for White Oak High School

Last week the Texas Education Agency released the list of Public Education Grant (PEG) Schools/Districts. White Oak High School was included on that list as an “Academically Unacceptable” campus for 2013. This label activates a number of required actions by White Oak ISD to inform our stakeholders of the current rating and legal options that are available for consideration. That notification and list of actions will be released very soon.

How did White Oak High School merit this designation?

The short answer to this question is, we did not merit and/or receive this rating designation. The high school and the district received a rating of “Improvement Required” last fall and much was said and written to educate our stakeholders about that process.
White Oak High School is on the PEG list because TEA did not see the need to distinguish between the new Improvement Required rating and the old Academically Unacceptable ranking. There is no supporting evidence that any of our campuses are lacking in academic performance and/or professional educator expectations.
We were down graded, for lack of a better term, due to a high number of students that graduated in 2012 on the minimum plan (52%). One year after this class graduated, TEA adopted a new accountability standard that determined the Class of 2012 was not College & Career ready. It should be pointed out, once again, that the minimum plan was and is an approved graduation plan. Adopted by the State Board of Education and listed as an accepted option in Texas Education Code 74.61. This arbitrary decision was made despite the following:
• 74.1% of the Class of 2012 is enrolled in post-secondary education courses at this time
• Our seniors score above the state average on SAT and ACT college entrance exams
• Our students far surpassed the state average on all TEA mandated assessments at all grade levels, especially High School
• Some of our “minimum graduates” received full and partial scholarships to four year universities on the merit of their entrance exam scores, assessment scores and the successful experiences they had in high school
• A side note to the academic aptitude of the Class of 2012 is they brought home UIL State Championships in Over all Academics and Journalism
• The Class of 2012 brought home the overall UIL Champions Lone Star Cup for the first time in the history of White Oak ISD
• It is also worth pointing our that our Boys Basketball Team won the first of two State Titles in 2012
To Commissioner Williams and the TEA staff, this is what they have determined to be an academically unacceptable school. TEA feels that this level of performance requires WOISD to be placed in the school improvement model and spend over $40,000 in unbudgeted expense to hire an outside consultant and require our leadership team to attend extensive training sessions to improve our poor performance.
Commissioner Williams and TEA staff declined to consider any of this information in the appeal we sent last fall and the rating of Improvement Required remains in place for White Oak ISD. We have strategies in place to remove us from this list but we are required to stay in school improvement for a minimum of two years. Our leadership team, faculty and staff are fully prepared to deal with the implications of this rating. However, the idea that anyone would consider White Oak High School “Academically Unacceptable” is completely unacceptable to me, as Superintendent, to the Board of Trustees and to all stakeholders in White Oak! I do not want anyone to think any of us are willing to just accept this kind of arbitrary, blanket assessment.
The Faculty, Staff and Leadership Team of White Oak ISD want to assure this community that the safety and academic success of our students has been, is and always will be our highest priority. As educators, we are committed to meeting the individual needs of our students. I believe that I can speak on behalf of the entire team that provides for the safety and instruction of your students when I say; thank you for allowing us to share in the lives and successes of all the students that attend White Oak ISD.

We Are White Oak!

Michael Gilbert, Superintendent
White Oak ISD

The Blessings of White Oak ISD

As we head into the Christmas Season, it seems appropriate to “count our blessings” at White Oak ISD. Many would assume that means looking at the number of successes attributed to our students in the many areas of UIL competition. These events are truly a source of pride for all the stakeholders in the district. Our students have been very successful in the fall of 2013. We’ve watched our very young Volleyball team respond to new leadership and make a strong run in the playoffs. We’ve seen our Cross Country Teams run and qualify for the Regional Meet. The Regiment of Roughnecks, 160 strong, marched their way into the State Marching Band Finals and emerged as the Best 2A Military Band in the state of Texas. We watched as our Roughneck football team made a record run into the State Semi-Finals and became only the second team in school history to compete in a 15 game season!
These are events and accomplishments to be proud of, without a doubt. But, I will submit to you that the blessings of White Oak ISD run much deeper than events and accomplishments. Our blessings can be seen in the form of a supportive community for all things White Oak. Athletic events, academic contests, play productions and awards ceremonies are held all over the state. When those events include White oak ISD, you can expect a crowd. This community gives of their most valuable commodity, time. This is not the action of parents only, it is the whole community that shows up for a cold rainy football game, a state tournament in Austin or Garland and a marching band competition in San Antonio! The support that our students, faculty and staff experience in White Oak is not commonplace and certainly not something to take for granted. Roughneck Pride runs deep and far beyond the campus doors.
Our blessings can be seen in a strong, professional and caring faculty, staff and administration. From the bus drivers that are the first to greet many of our students to the support staff that maintains the physical plant and the instructional staff working with students on a daily basis, we are blessed to have the team that serves our students each day. This group is also in the stands, at the auditorium and standing by the field to support our students. We are there after school, on the weekends and in the summer to make sure there is a comprehensive plan in place that will give our students the best chance to experience success in the classroom and extra-curricular activities. Our staff sponsors clubs, organizes fundraisers and guides students through many of the moments that make up a positive memory of the time spent in school. Our administrative team is committed to providing each student with a safe learning environment that is conducive to the pursuit of academic excellence and developing skills that will be used to succeed after graduation. Another way to express all of the above is, we have adults that love and care about our students.
Finally, the biggest blessing in White Oak ISD is a group of young people that care, period. As a group, they care about their community, they care about their school and they most certainly care about one another. The success that is seen in White Oak ISD does not come from a set of strategies/formulas that you can publish and apply to any community. It is the result of a long-standing culture of caring about who we are and what we do, that sets White Oak ISD apart. That culture is handed down from class to class as students model who we are every year. Success at the High School does not start at the High School. It starts as soon as a student first enrolls in White Oak ISD. You can have the best community support, the finest instructional strategies, the best facilities and the most up-to-date equipment but if you do not have students willing to give their very best, you won’t have what we have in White Oak.
The billboard in front of the High School states, “WE ARE WHITE OAK” and I am here to say that is much more than a statement. White Oak ISD alumni Bobby Hawthorne said it best, “We are White Oak is a promise from the students, faculty and staff that are in school now, to those that came before them, that the Roughneck legacy remains strong in our schools.” The blessings of White Oak ISD are the people of this school system and the community that supports all that we do. I am so honored to be a part of the important and fulfilling work of educating our young people.
Christmas is a very special time of year and I want to close with this:

Merry Christmas!
May God extend his riches blessings on each of you this Holiday Season.

Michael E. Gilbert, Superintendent
White Oak ISD


White Oak ISD Accountability Rating 2013

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.

HB 2824 is Alive and Well

I am proud to report that the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is alive and well. Last week the Texas House of Representatives approved HB 2824 with a unanimous vote. The bill was sent the to Senate and is scheduled to be heard in committee, Thursday, May 16th. Consortium members as well as many other educators and supporters of the Texas Public Schools are in the process of contacting Senators to express their support for final passage of HB 2824.
When that vote to approve takes place and Governor Perry signs HB 2824 into law, the R&D department of the Texas Public Schools System will be in place and ready to tackle the difficult but very important work of developing the our next generation educational delivery system for all public school students in the state of Texas.
I am grateful for the unanimous support from the House of Representatives and Representative Simpson as a co-author of HB 2824. I believe the bill also has broad based support in the Senate and look forward to passage of this very important piece of legislation. I would ask that each of you contact your Senator and express your views on the merits of HB 2824.

HB 2824 Update

House Bill 2824 and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium

It has been a while since I reported on the progress of the Consortium. The reason is that it has been a while since there has been any new news on the progress in passage of HB 2824. As it stands, HB 2824 was unanimously passed out of the House Public Education Committee on April 25, 2013. The bill has been moved to the Calendars Committee and waits an assigned date to be heard on the House Floor. As of the time of this report, no date has been set for the bill to be heard.
There are two ways that 2824 can make it to the Floor of the House for debate and a vote. The first would be to receive an assigned date from Calendars and be heard as a stand-alone piece of legislation. The second would be to have 2824 attached as an amendment to a bill to be heard on the floor and then be approved along with the other piece of information.
If either of these options takes place and HB 2824 is approved, it will go the Senate Education Committee for the process to start again from the beginning. Hopefully, it will move quickly to the Floor of the Senate, voted on favorably and passed into law to be signed by the Governor.
Worst-case scenario, the bill does not make it to the floor of one chamber or the other and the Consortium is not granted the waivers needed to move away from STAAR/EOC. White Oak ISD will continue to use the teaching strategies we have been training on for the past two years and move forward with the transformation of our classroom instruction. The training you have been provided will benefit students in either setting. Collaborative learning, engaged instruction and the infusion of technology will be critical to the growth of our students and the district regardless of the actions of the legislature.
It is my hope and my belief that HB 2824 will make it’s way through the system and become the law that allows us to explore a much better plan for instruction and assessment for our students. If that is not the case, new legislation that reduces the number of STAAR/EOC exams, assesses on the readiness standards and not the supporting standards and creates multiple pathways to graduation is not a bad fall back plan. These are all bills that have or will pass this session.
It is not my intent to cast a negative slant on the work being done on behalf of the Consortium Schools. My purpose is to keep you informed and as up-to-date as I possibly can. We are far from defeated and at this time there is great support for the bill in the House (4 authors and 27 co-authors). Again, I want to encourage each of you to continue to provide the high quality instruction that is White Oak ISD and we will be ready for whatever comes next as a Consortium District or STAAR/EOC system district.
When you live and work in a place that can pull off an event like Colors-4-Camryn and have a whole community rally around a family in need (733 runners and a total of over $36,000 raised) then TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS, STAAR and EOC will not be an issue for White Oak ISD!!!

The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium

What about the future of Public Education in Texas? Look at HB 2824 and The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC).

The state of Texas employs 600,000 educators to serve the needs of over five million students at a cost that makes up almost half of the states annual budget. Any corporation of that size should be heavily involved in the Research & Development process for the future. In the past, our legislature has relied on outside entities to do the lion’s share of that work. This decision resulted in the STAAR/EOC system we have today. The educational environment of high stakes testing and accountability tied to the lowest performing sub-group is the reality of letting non-Texas education professionals take the lead in the assessment and accountability process for our students.
Representative Bennett Ratliff (District 115) introduced HB 2824 to allow the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium to be the Texas Education R&D Department for Accountability and Assessment. I am proud to say that our House Representative, David Simpson, is a Co-Author of that piece of legislation. HB 2824 creates the legal pathway for 23 school districts to be removed from the requirements of the current system and work together for the purpose of creating a completely new method of Assessment and Accountability. The new system would rely on multiple assessment pieces that are meaningful and relevant to the student’s development as a college/career ready graduate. The accountability of the district would be to the stakeholders within the district first, and the state would return to the role of monitoring schools for accreditation. The Consortium is charged with the task of researching and making recommendations to the Commissioner of Education in four key areas:
• Digital Learning – this includes the use of digital devices, digital instructional materials and courses offered through the Texas Virtual Schools Network (TxVSN)
• High Priority Learning Standards – these standards will focus on college and career readiness and allow educators the latitude to create student centered lessons with depth and rigor
• Multiple Assessments – students mastery of the learning standards will be documented and measured through the body of work, not by high stakes testing that occurs one time per year
• Increasing Local Control – districts will rely on local input and decision-making that enable communities/parents to be involved in the education of their children. The community will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the district in meeting mastery of learning standards as well as how our students measure up to state, federal and international expectations.

The Consortium has five years to complete this work and make the required recommendations to the Commissioner. During that time, a phase-out of current assessment and accountability requirements will take place. The 23 school districts involved will then phase in the process of creating the new system. A key feature of the new system will be an electronic student portfolio that contains work samples used as a body of evidence that mastery of the learning standards has occurred.
The process is extensive, it is long and it is complicated. In the end, the result will be a system of education that is rigorous, relevant and challenging to the students. It will not be easier than the current system but it will be more interesting which will create greater success for the learners. It is my hope that each of you will contact your legislators and encourage them to support HB 2824. The future of the students in the State of Texas is important and worth the effort to create this new system. You can find out more information about the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium by clicking on the link below:

Finally, I want to emphasize that the work of the THPSC is not being done to benefit 23 school districts and 200,00 students. This work was sanctioned and is being done for the purpose of creating a 21st century learning environment for every student in the Texas Public School System. There has been a great deal of discussion about “what is wrong with the Texas Public Schools”. To date, most of the remedies suggested include taking students out of the public schools and placing them in a different educational environment. The members of the THPSC are working on creating that “new environment” within the framework of an existing system that employs thousands of dedicated education professionals ready to meet the needs of our five million plus students.
Thank you for your time and any support you may give to the effort of the THPSC.

Michael Gilbert
Superintendent, White Oak ISD
Member, Texas High Performance Schools Consortium

White Oak ISD Calendar Adjustment

All Stakeholders in White Oak ISD,

I am writing to address the concerns of a those in the community that have expressed their displeasure with the decision to dismiss all classes on Friday, March 8, 2013 and make up the school day with an early release date on Good Friday, March 29, 2013.
The decision to dismiss the district on Friday was based on the experience gained from last year’s state tournament. In 2012 we dismissed the high school and all other campuses were required to attend classes as a regular school day. There were many parents/relatives of the basketball players working in the district that took leave to attend the tournament and an abundance of parents as fans that checked their students out of school to make the trip. The number of substitutes required to cover classes, the attendance of those still in school and the total disruption to the academic day were all considerations in the decision not to duplicate that process in 2013. In order to make the adjustment in the calendar, one of our two bad weather days would have to be used to substitute for Friday the 8th. The two bad weather days were Good Friday and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a Federal Holiday and considered to be the start of the summer travel season. It is on a Monday, which did not lend itself to early release to help with those wanting to travel for a long weekend. With that in mind, Good Friday was the better solution for the calendar adjustment. Good Friday is not a Federal Holiday. Our Maintenance Staff is working on that day and several school-related activities have been on the schedule for that day since the beginning of the year. March 29, 2013 is the best option to meet the needs of the corporate body of the White Oak Independent School District.
Are we placing athletics ahead of academics? At no time in the six plus years that I have been Superintendent of Schools at White Oak ISD has anything been placed in higher regard than the academics success of our students. The only thing that would trump that statement would be the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Some have written that letting school out for the tournament is equal to saying sports is of greater importance than academics. My response to that accusation is as follows:
I have every confidence that the students, faculty and staff at White Oak ISD, as well as the vast majority of the stakeholders in this district, recognize the outstanding quality of instruction provided to our students. The instructional strategies, integrated technology and attention to needs of each student rival any educational facility in the state of Texas and beyond.
To those of you that have sent your concerns, I understand the issue of childcare and the working parent. The choices we make are not taken lightly or without careful consideration of all involved. If children have to miss school for a family trip, they will be able to make up any work missed and they will benefit from time spent with family and friends.
I hope this information is useful to anyone trying to understand why the district is adjusting the calendar.

Texas High Performance Schools Consortium Update 2-27-13

Members of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC) are making great progress in the development of a new student centered accountability system for Texas public schools. We are most certainly in the infant stages of a five-year process to present a completely new system, redesigned from the ground up. As I reported in earlier post, there are six sub-committees within the Consortium tasked with specific pieces of the overall design.
In an effort to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of the Consortium, each district will create a link and dedicated page of information for THPSC News. That link at White Oak ISD is;

The page includes a letter of introduction from the superintendent, an overview of the Consortium and FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) designed to provide more insight into the Consortium and the work of the group. As our work continues, I will update the information on this site in an effort to keep all of you as well informed as possible.
The month of March is shaping up to be very important to our work. We are very close to the introduction of a piece of legislation that will lay out the needs of the Consortium to be successful in the design of the new system.

Thank you for your interest and support of White Oak ISD and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. “Innovate-Create-Succeed”