Students and Staff Gearing up for STAAR

Schools holding tutorials and competitions to prepare for exam 

Westside High School students prepare for STAAR testing. Click photo to see Austin High School's STAAR efforts.

HISD students and teachers across the district are getting the word out about the upcoming STAAR exam, and some are using their creative and artistic side. Over at Austin High School students and staff formed teams to compete in a hallway decorating contest to see who could create and design the best STAAR display. Some of the themes included Godzilla, Mario Brothers and even Hollywood.

 “We’ve managed to create a real motivating environment in our hallways to get the teachers and kids pumped up about the STAAR exam,” said Austin ninth grade biology teacher Jesse Nemec.

Austin students have been attending STAAR tutorials during the week and on Saturdays to get prepared for the state wide assessment.

“In addition, a lot of our students have taken it upon themselves to meet with their teachers on a one-to-one basis during lunch to get the extra help that they need,” said Austin High School Assistant Principal Brandee Lira.

Westside High School students have also been attending weekly lunch tutorials in preparation for the second year of STAAR testing which begins Monday, April 1. Since January, Westside teachers have offered lunch and Saturday tutorials for all students. The March 23rd tutorial session had approximately 150 students, all of whom are eager to score well on their exams.

“Tutorials have been helpful in more than one way; they have prepared me for STAAR. They have also made my grades in my core classes higher. To get a high score, you have to do more,” explained Westside High School student Daryus Howell.

Not only have Westside teachers offered tutorials, but they are also practicing cross-curriculum reinforcement of STAAR objectives.  World Geography teachers have their students respond to class topics in STAAR writing format on actual STAAR essay paper. Teachers throughout the campus and district are working together to ensure their students are prepared for all exams.

“Tutorials are an integral part of STAAR preparation at Westside. Through the evaluation of data we can see that some students are in need of extra help in some subjects and tutorial sessions allow us to target those students and provide them with the assistance they need to be successful,” said Noelle MacGregor, Dean of Student Transition at Westside.

What is your school doing to prepare for STAAR? Send your photos and a short explanation to

Click here for a complete schedule of HISD STAAR testing dates.

If you have questions about STAAR, visit HISD’s FAQ site at or send an email to