Hearne Students Score High on TAKS

It's three bad ratings away from being shut down. Hearne ISD was rated academically unacceptable last year, the worst rating the Texas Education Agency dishes out.

However, the school is slowly repairing its scholastic reputation. This year, teachers and students have a reason to celebrate.

Hearne ISD has redeemed itself this year with TAKS scores, on average, 30 percent higher than last year.

School officials say after a few years of unacceptable ratings, the district turned a new leaf. It has hired teachers who want the school to excel, and it has listened to students about what they need to make the grade.

"I looked over to my teachers and they were crying their eyes out," Sonya Vega, a Hearne High School student said. "I was too."

For several years, the small school district failed to make the grade when it came to the TAKS test.
But, this year students excelled, against all odds.

In 2007, 51 percent of 9th graders passed the math portion of the test, and this year 86 percent passed.
75 percent of Hearne freshman passed the english portion of the test in 2007, this year 78 percent excelled.
9th graders are not required to take the science or social studies test.

10th graders also made big improvements.
In 2007, only 26 percent of sophomores passed the math portion, and this year 75 percent passed.
Last year 21 percent passed science and 86 percent excelled this year.
Plus, 61 percent passed the English portion of the test in 2007, 93 percent passed this year.
62 percent of sophomores passed the social studies test last year, and this year 93 percent passed.

Juniors made strides too.
90 percent passed the math portion this year, compared to 61 percent in 2007.
93 percent passed science and only 60 percent excelled last year.
11th graders also scored high in English, 98 percent passed this year, and last year 78 percent passed.

"They don't have a track record of winning, and there are a lot of folks in the community who began to doubt whether they could be winners," one Hearne teacher said. "But, they have the heart of a champion and they showed that."

Hearne officials say the reason for the victory is simple; new teachers who want kids to succeed, listening to students about what they need to learn and hands on instruction.

Hearne ISD is made up of mostly economically disadvantaged students and minorities. The school district says it's curriculum is designed to help students with these specific backgrounds.

Hearne also hired an outside coach to come into their schools twice a week to work with teachers and administrators.

The TAKS is a serious series of tests the state has mandated. Seniors must pass them in order to graduate, and schools with failing TAKS grades run the risk of losing state accreditation


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