Based on preliminary calculations and TAKS results, a record number of Dallas Independent School District campuses are poised to be classified as "recognized" or "exemplary" by the Texas Education Agency. Until now, not one non-magnet high school in the district has been deemed recognized, and this year six are slated to get the honor. One of them is Sunset High School, whose principal's crusade for improvement we chronicle in this week's paper version of Unfair Park. The others are Moisés E. Molina, H. Grady Spruce, W.H. Adamson, Thomas Jefferson and W.T. White.
"It's great news," DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander tells Unfair Park. "To have six comprehensive high schools rated as recognized is tremendous. And for Spruce to be one of them, and three schools in Oak Cliff -- that's really, really remarkable. It speaks to the overall progress that's being seen district-wide."
DISD reports that overall, 127 schools will be rated either exemplary or recognized, up from 103 this school year. The shift has to do with a new TEA rule called the Texas Projection Meausure, which takes into account test score improvement instead of only whether or not a school has a cumulative score of 75 on each of the four TAKS subject areas (in other words, all six of these high schools fell short of the 75 requirement, but because of their margin of improvement, they are on track to be considered recognized).
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Asked whether the rule change takes away from the forward momentum, Dahlander says no. "I don't think it diminishes at all the progress that's being made," he says, "The TPM wouldn't be there if it didn't point to improvement at individual schools."