Evacuees and TAKS

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

Statewide, students displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita struggled with the TAKS reading and math test. But that wasn't the case for students in College Station's school district.

" At first I was really scared because a lot of people say that Texas education is a lot harder than Louisiana education," said Nicole Ladner.

Ladner worried how her nine-year-old son Matthew would adjust to Texas schools after being uprooted from Louisiana due to hurricane Katrina.

" Here in Texas, because everything was much harder, he really was behind everybody," said Ladner.

Eight months later and Matthew has been performing well at South Knoll Elementary in College Station . He passed the reading portion of the TAKS test on his first try. In fact, so did 12 out of the 13 third grade evacuees enrolled in College Station schools.

It's not a trend that's mirrored statewide. Evacuees are lagging behind on the test. 58 percent of evacuees in third grade passed the reading test compared with 89 percent of all students.

College Station administrators and teachers say they tried to make the transition into a new school system as smooth as possible.

" One of the things we worked really hard on was just integrating them into our school system and their family's as well. I think that's more than anything else part of why we saw so many kids that were hurricane evacuees be successful," said Eddie Coulson with College Station ISD.

" When he needed extra help in reading, extra help in math they would stay after school and helped him," said Ladner.

Matthew's family has decided to stay in College Station and he's no longer considered an evacuee student.

" South Knoll is the greatest school I've ever been to. I have the greatest teachers," said Matthew.

As for Bryan's reading scores, two out of the four evacuee third graders passed, and three out of 11 fifth graders passed.


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