A handful of schools in Anderson, Houston and Leon counties — including Palestine Junior High School — are among the nearly 900 schools across Texas that were designated as under-performing campuses in a new list released by the Texas Education Agency on Thursday.
Schools making the list locally included Palestine Junior High School, Grapeland High School, Oakwood High School and Crockett Independent School District's elementary, junior high and high school campuses. In total, there were 66 schools in East Texas named on the list.
This list, effective for the 2014-2015 school year, identifies campuses with passing rates on TAKS/STAAR that are less than or equal to 50 percent in any two of the preceding three years or were rated Academically Unacceptable in 2011 or rated Improvement Required in 2013 under the new state accountability system. No state accountability ratings were issued in 2012.
Despite the new report, most of the local campuses on the list that were rated Academically Unacceptable in 2011 — which placed the schools on this report — have already improved their campus, receiving “Met Standard” ratings from the 2012-13 Texas Academic Performance Report released in late 2013. These schools even received distinction designations for their progress.
PJHS — as well of all of Palestine Independent School District as a whole — received the “Met Standard” rating on the 2012-13 Texas Academic Performance Report for the STAAR Test. PJHS also received an Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts and an Academic Achievement in Top 25 Percent Student Progress in the most recent ratings report.
“It's a misleading report because every campus that we have in our district — including Palestine Junior High School — met standards for this current school year,” PISD Superintendent Jason Marshall told the Herald-Press Friday. “The reason the junior high campus was on the list was because of scores from 2011 and those have already been improved. The campus was actually commended by the State of Texas for doing so well on the required improvements that were necessary.”