HISD parents attended an information session Thursday night, hearing directly from a panel of experts representing elementary, middle and high schools; curriculum; and special education. After viewing an overview presentation outlining the differences between TAKS and STAAR and the new requirements high schoolers will face, the session opened up to questions.
Presenters Anastasia Lindo and Richard Barajas, both school improvement officers, emphasized the importance of preparing for the new, more rigorous accountability test.
“STAAR does count,” Lindo said. HISD will receive a raw score this year, and some students may be required to take summer school as a result of their performance.
Members of the audience asked questions about the new discussion around delaying the 15 percent requirement – which would affect this year’s ninth-graders. Barajas acknowledged there is growing support around an effort to postpone that requirement until next school year.
Questions were also submitted via email and the STAAR Q&A blog.
Several parents asked about provisions for students in special education. Assistant Superintendent Sowmya Kumar spoke to those concerns, emphasizing that accommodations are made on an individual basis. Kumar also emphasized the importance of students working toward the recommended graduation plan.
“Students who take anything but regular STAAR are working toward a minimum high school diploma,” Kumar said. That can limit a student’s choices in the future.
Kumar encouraged parents to contact HISD staff members directly with any questions: “We’ll be happy to talk to you directly.”