Sabine ISD board members discussed a variety of plans to improve campuses Monday, Oct. 14, with the aim of improving the district overall. They also congratulated campus administrators and school supporters on achievements at the start of the school year.
One of the biggest achievements was announced by Misty Gee, organizer of Sabine’s annual “Rockin’ The Foundation” fundraiser.
In its third year, the fundraiser, held Oct. 12, raised more than $101,400. The money will go to fund classroom projects and programs for teachers throughout the district.
Sabine High School Principal Monty Pepper discussed some noteworthy achievements at the campus.
“The high school campus saw a lot of success last year,” Pepper said, pointing to SHS students’ success on yearly academic testing. The campus scored an overall “B” rating, which is heavily weighted by student performance on STAAR assessments.
“That’s certainly not all that we do. Another component, which is one of those good stories that you like to hear, is identifying some of our kids that are falling through the cracks, that are at-risk students, that we’ve been serving but not been serving well,” Pepper said, highlighting the campus’ new Academic Center for Excellence, which assists students with credit recovery and classroom performance.
Pepper added at least three students who had been helped by the program offered their thanks, as they had struggled passing all their classes since middle school.
Pepper said additional efforts at the high school focused on preparing college-bound students for life when they enter the university system. This effort aims to prepare SHS students for college entrance exams, as well as preparing those who may enter the workforce after graduation but who need college credits for career advancement.
Principals shared information on individual campus improvement plans with board members. Superintendent Stacey Bryce said these individual plans will be used to create an overall district improvement plan.
Sabine Middle School Principal Stanton Reaves said reading and writing classes had been combined at his campus to help students accommodate changes in state education guidelines and to better prepare them academically.
“One of the big changes from previous years is we did take and combine our reading and our writing, which used to be in two different categories. We combined those to an ELAR (English Language Arts and Reading) because of the way the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) have been changed and the way we’re reformatting our campus and combining those classes on our campus,” Reaves said.
Reaves said SMS staff have been working on setting goals for next year and working to achieve more distinctions for the campus, including raising the attendance rate to qualify for the National Title I Distinguished Schools Program.
“We set our goal at what would have qualified us for a Title I attendance rate from this previous year.”
Sabine Elementary School Principal Teri Bass said staff at her campus had been working on improvements as well, with the aim of getting more students to reach the “masters and meets” category on state-defined learning goals.
“We equally have upped our game for the ‘masters and meets’ category,” Bass said, specifying staff had been focusing on student sub-populations.
“We’re really studying it and talking to our teachers. A lot of our kids get extra help and then there are a pod of kids that are in the Gen. Ed. classroom that don’t get the extra help. So we’re focusing a lot on sub-pops, not leaving out other kids, but coming in on specific areas that need help,” Bass said.
Bass said her campus had also been focused on boosting attendance, assigning a secretary to call the homes of kids who miss class.
Administrators also celebrated some campus achievements earned during the first six weeks of school.
SHS recently congratulated 197 students with an extended lunch hour at local restaurants for achieving perfect attendance in the first six weeks of school. This, among other things, shows the campus is off to a good start in 2019, Pepper said.
“Our failure rate for the first six weeks is the lowest I’ve seen in quite some time.
SMS Principal Reaves said 229 students had earned a place on the honor roll in the first six weeks, in recognition of earning all A’s or A’s and B’s.
He reported the SMS failure was also the lowest he had seen during his tenure, echoing the similar achievement at the high school.
Sabine Elementary Principal Bass reminded board members of the Harvest Moon Festival approaching on Oct. 26. The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Sabine Elementary PTO.