Diboll Junior High Recognized Nationally For Scores

Brent Hawkins Diboll Jr. High Principal
Brent Hawkins Diboll Jr. High Principal

by Jessica Cervantez

An area school is using a new strategy to turn test scores around. It is the only school in East Texas completely using a special program. Scores have gone up so drastically there, the school is now receiving a national award.

Diboll Junior High ranked 13 points below the state's average in every category of last year's TAKS test. When Principal Brent Hawkins saw those numbers, he decided the school needed to make some changes to raise the scores.

Hawkins said, "We decided as a campus we can use data better than anyone else, by using data we can get our kids where we need to get them."

The school is now using a method known as the Renaissance. In just a year, TAKS scores have turned around. Those scores are now 28 points above the state's average, a change Hawkins is proud of achieving.

Because of the accomplishment, Diboll Junior High will receive the National Educational Leadership award. An honor, being given to only seven out of 65,000 schools nationwide.

Teacher's say the Renaissance program is working well. It allows teachers to identify areas where students need extra help, and test them on those subjects every day.

Hawkins said, "They perform everyday. Teacher's don't have to grade, the students put their papers in the scanner, and the scanner scans their grade."

Because children scan their own work, teachers don't have to spend a lot of time grading papers. This allows them to spend more time teaching.

The program is expensive. It is $300-thousand for a three-year period. Aggressive grant writing makes the program possible in Diboll. The school will be recognized at an awards banquet in San Antonio.