February 14, 2012
Dear Gonzales ISD School and Community Family,
Hello everyone! GISD is busy with spring programs, sports, planning, and testing. Faculty and staff are working with students daily to facilitate academic achievement, communicate respect and appreciation of others, and to promote the process of learning how to learn. I believe public school supports the foundation of our country. The vast majority of all success stories and great leaders have come from public education and small community schools. Gonzales ISD is doing good work!
Our students and staff have been working to prepare for the 2012 spring assessments as we embark on the first year for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and End of Course (EOC) assessments. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/ Some reported changes included in the new assessment system are increased rigor and depth of complexity according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). What increased rigor and depth of complexity means is still a mystery in many ways as are other facets of the new assessment system including how the exams will be scored. As educators teach, motivate to excel and work to extend challenging lessons, there emerges continuous controversy over high stakes testing.
The accountability era gained momentum in the early ‘80’s and has emerged into a multi-billion dollar industry for testing entities. While assessment of student progress against a uniform comparison standard is an important part of accountability, the current accountability system does little to promote major ingredients to success in the real world. In a document provided by the Public Education Visioning Institute entitled Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas, several Texas superintendents support the original impetus of public education as a state’s right with local control (p.7). Further, the document holds firmly to the assertion that accountability is a good thing, but not an accountability system that “relies on one-shot testing.” Not accountability that “…punishes students and teachers based on false conclusions about student success and development” (p.9). http://www.tasb.org/legislative/documents/vpevi.pdf . The authors purport the transformation of the system into one that supports skills necessary to a well rounded adult world.
The Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report entitled: What Work Requires of Schools, A SCANS Report for America 2000 was published in response to a directive by the Secretary of Labor to inform educators of the skills necessary for work success http://wdr.doleta.gov/opr/fulltext/document.cfm?docn=6140. Still recognized today as leading research, the SCANS report supports basic skills in the content areas while promoting necessary skills that are integral to professional working relationships, problem solving and knowledge acquisition as instrumental competencies. The SCANS report listed five major competencies including: identify and organize resources, work with others, acquire and evaluate information, understand complex interrelationships of various systems, and use technology. Additionally, there is a three part foundation which includes: understand basic skills, use thinking skills that demonstrate knowledge of how to learn, make decisions, and use information to solve problems and demonstrate personal qualities of responsibility, sociability, self esteem, integrity and honesty.
I applaud educators for their work every day integrating real world lessons that support work ready environments. Teachers are accountable for so much more than a snapshot high stakes test given one day in the life of a child. We enter this new testing era with many unanswered questions. Just know that whatever comes our way, GISD will continue to do what is best for our students and strive to surpass the excellence of our vision.
Kimberly A. Strozier, Ed. D.
Gonzales ISD Superintendent of Schools
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:20