Hearne High School's new principal, Carolyn Reed, has a huge task ahead of her, but the 33-year veteran educator says she is up for the challenge. The Texas Education Agency gives Hearne High School an academically unacceptable rating. Reed and other administrators are doing a number of things to change that.
"I feel like that communication with the parents and the teachers and the community is a real needed aspect of this position," said Reed.
The TEA rates schools based on TAKS scores and high school completion and drop out rates. Hearne's school district says their problem stems from the new and more difficult TAKS test. Administrators hope that a new principal and a new high school with improved classrooms will motivate the students. They also offer tutoring sessions and will start TAKS preparation online.
"That lets us go in every six weeks, do an assessment of the student, and see where they are and then readjust what we are teaching so that we can make sure they master it," said Dr. Susan Jackson, the Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs for Hearne ISD.
Calvert's High School is in the same boat as Hearne, also receiving an unacceptable rating, but the district's superintendent plans to put TAKS preparations into high gear.
"I believe you should re-teach, review, and re-test, 20 percent of the time, things that the kids are already suppose to know and so basically what I've implemented here is what you might call power teaching," said Morris Ogden, Calvert ISD Superintendent.
Calvert school teachers will start using new TAKS based curriculum and instruction programs, but more is expected from the students as well.
"The main thing we've got to have from our students is concentrated effort," said Ogden.