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Students Make Significant Gains on TAKS Math and Science Exams

2011 May 27

I was proud to share news in my weekly e-News message about the significant gains that HISD students made on the TAKS math and science exams. We made the announcement yesterday and you can watch the entire news conference to the right.

As part of the press conference, we highlighted two students who made remarkable progress. Axel Funez is a ninth-grader at Sharpstown High School. He posted a 21-percent gain and scored Commended for the first time on the ninth-grade math TAKS. (The more difficult Commended level shows whether students are learning at a pace that will prepare them for college and meaningful careers.) The second student, Jannessia McFarland, is in sixth-grade at Dowling Middle School. She not only passed the TAKS math exam for the very first time, she also showed four times her expected growth on the exam.

I am so extremely proud of these students. Like all sixth- and ninth-graders in Apollo 20 schools, Axel and Jannessia have been receiving intensive tutoring every day from math fellows. There’s no doubt those tutoring sessions are paying off. This will be the first year that Jannessia doesn’t have to attend summer school. When her mom thinks about the progress her daughter has made, Ms. McFarland says her eyes start welling up. She wants the best for her daughter, just as Axel’s dad wants the best for his son. You should have seen the smile on Mr. Funez’s face yesterday afternoon. He is so proud. We took this picture (left) with the students, their parents, and their tutors. (Bridgit White, who is pictured on the far left, works with Axel at Sharpstown, and Heather Tyler, who works with Jannessia at Dowling, is on the far right.)

We are not willing to declare victory at the Apollo schools, but we are making progress toward ensuring that all children in Houston get a quality education.

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