Seriously, instead of trying to come up with cute names for teacher evaluations or asking the Dallas Regional Chamber for help, the Dallas Independent School District's higher-ups (the school board, especially) need to take the few-minute drive to Mesquite and ask Superintendent Dr. Linda Henrie how to make schools, you know, better. Because one month after being told it was on the short list of finalists for the the 2011 Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, the Mesquite ISD has been named the winner. Why? Well, says the release that just landed in the in-box, that's simple:
"Mesquite Independent School District is truly a model for success," said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA's Executive Director. "The district, through the board's leadership, has made major gains in student achievement and significantly closed achievement gaps while effectively increasing community support around the schools."
Among those achievements, says the NSBA:
- 84 percent of students tested proficient in math in 2010, up from 67 percent in 2004.
- The percentage proficient in science grew from 52 percent in 2004 to 82 percent in 2010.
- Reading test scores rose from 82 percent to 91 percent proficient during the same time period, while social studies scores went from 86 percent to 95 percent passing.
- While all subgroups showed improvement, minority students enjoyed particular gains, and the test score gaps between white and minority students closed significantly in all subject areas.
MISD officials, of course, are quite pleased, but of course. Says school board president Kevin Carbo on the district's website: "This award is not just for the Board of Trustees, but for everyone in the district -- from the administrators to the teachers to the auxiliary employees who day in and day out give our children their maximum effort."
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Which reminds me: DISD, I just learned, about an hour ago, that the newly adopted language-arts textbooks still haven't arrived at my son's elementary seven weeks after school started. Great success.