NISD wants to bring failing grade up

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - An early release day is allowing elementary teachers time to track student's writing skills.   Just one of the strategy plans the district is putting into place to turn a failing district performance grade into a passing one. This year, 75% of the state's 8,195 campuses met the progress standards, a drop from 80% last year.   NISD Superintendent of Instruction, Dr.  Karen Halverson said,  " The fact that other districts are facing this same issue across the state is just affirmation that we're not alone. But that does not take the pressure off us to do better and we want to beat the odds. "

Raguet Elementary is one of six schools in the district meeting the progress standards. Passage is based on ability and instruction, but often influenced by demographics. Halverson cited the results.  " At Carpenter Elementary it's for our African American students in math. At McMichael Middle School it's LEP students in reading. At the high school it is our African American and economically disadvantaged students in math and for the district level it's our special education students in reading and math. "

Focused instruction is in place. Special instruction including tutorials in math, reading and writing at all grade levels are underway. Administrators say the approach will be unlike other learning programs.    Learning from the best is one way to improve education. Next week administrators and counselors will travel to Chicago. They'll be visiting one of the best schools in the nations. They hope to take some of their programs that's been tested on students and apply them here in nacogdoches.

The challenges will increase as the bar is raised. No Child Left Behind has good intentions, but increasingly its fairness and expectations of young minds are questioned.