Kilgore ISD board members discussed a variety of issues at Monday’s board meeting, including STAAR test results, campus updates and a report on out-of-district transfers.
While reviewing a list of campus updates, board trustee Dana Sneed asked about an item indicating the creation of a Kilgore High School e-sports team.
“The Esports is something we’re excited about,” said KHS Principal Charles Presley.
“Esports” is a form of organized competition where players compete in video games. Kilgore College also recently announced the creation of an Esports team, reflecting the growing popularity of the competitions nationwide.
“We compete in athletics, we compete in UIL events but here in recent years, we’ve had some good success with our students going down and competing through our Game Design and media classes. So this is an opportunity for them to go and compete online. We formed a club and an organization and we’ve got about 40 members in it. We’ll be able to take two teams of six with three alternates as well. Students will be able to compete online against students across the state and we’ll actually have a playoff and be able to advance. These kids work real hard and they do a great job and this gives them an opportunity to start showcasing their talents.”
Board trustee Dereck Borders discussed the next item on the list – KISD’s Hispanic Heritage Festival has been moved from Oct. 8 to Oct. 22.
Kilgore Middle School Principal April Cox addressed the change.
“Mr. (Dan) Stanley (director of ESL/bilingual) and I had talked about that. We are double-booked on that night. We have an orchestra concert that was already on the calendar for 6 p.m. but like we discussed, I think every night in October is pretty full,” Cox said.
KISD’s Hispanic Heritage Festival is an annual event held in Kilgore City Park in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is held each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Last year’s festival was also rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Also in October, the district will host “Red Ribbon Week” to educate students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and strategies for student drug use prevention. The annual week-long event will be held at KISD Oct. 28 to Nov. 1.
Board members also moved to a discussion of district enrollment numbers.
“Last month we had 4,067 kiddos. As of the reporting date for this month, we’re sitting at 4,077 kiddos,” Baker said.
Baker also provided an annual update on out-of-district transfer students in the district.
“At this point last year, you had 186 kiddos that had transferred in from other school districts into Kilgore. This year, right now, you have 171.”
Trustee Alan Clark asked if transfer students were only charged an application fee for transferring to KISD.
“Yes sir. This year, we have a $50 application fee,” Baker said, adding transfer students were not charged a tuition fee.
Stanley presented a slideshow on KISD STAAR assessment test scores in regards to the district’s recent ‘B’ accountability rating from Texas Education Agency.
“This is an overview of the scores from the STAAR, our STAAR exams from grades 3-8 and end-of-course tests. These students are reported as the students who count towards our accountability at the end of the year. This data that we’re about to see compares the percent of Kilgore ISD students reaching the ‘approaches grade level’ compared to the percent of students in every district in Texas who reach that ‘approaches grade level.’”
Stanley added the report focused on the achievement of “approaches grade level” STAAR ratings because TEA factors that into accountability ratings.
“We know that’s not our ultimate bar but the ‘approaches grade level’ is what Texas looks at so that’s what we’re looking at here,” he said.
In 2019 STAAR tests, 70 percent of Chandler Elementary students achieved that grade in Math and 71 percent did so in Reading, compared to statewide averages of 78 percent in Math and 76 percent in Reading.
At Kilgore Intermediate, fourth-grade students achieved the grade at rates of 56 percent in Math, 55 percent in Reading and 47 percent in Writing, compared to state averages of 74, 74 and 65 percent, respectively.
Fifth-graders met that standard at rates of 81 percent in Math, 77 percent in Reading and 61 percent in Science, compared to state averages of 83 percent in Math, 77 percent in Reading and 74 percent in Science.
At Kilgore Middle School, sixth-graders hit the “approaches grade level” benchmark at rates of 72 percent in Math, 58 percent in Reading, compared to state averages of 74 percent and 66 percent.
Seventh-graders did so with 76 percent in Math, 72 percent in Reading and 68 percent in Writing, compared to state rates of 73 percent in Math, 74 percent in Reading and 69 percent in Writing.
Eighth-graders hit the mark at rates of 85 percent in Math, 78 percent in Reading, 73 percent in Science and 59 percent in Social Studies. State average rates were 81 percent in Math, 77 percent in Reading, 79 percent in Science and 67 percent in Social Studies.
At Kilgore High, students taking the end-of-course assessments met the “approaches grade level” rank at 57 percent for English 1, 66 percent for English 2, 80 percent for Algebra 1, 87 percent for Biology and 89 percent for U.S. History.
State averages were 63 percent for English 1, 67 percent for English 2, 84 percent for Algebra 1, 88 percent for Biology and 93 percent for U.S. History.