Victoria students show improvement in algebra, biology in state testing

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

June 21, 2014 at 1:21 a.m.
Updated June 22, 2014 at 1:22 a.m.

Victoria school district students are improving in algebra and biology, according to preliminary state assessment test results.

The scores are from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness and show improvements in the algebra I and biology end-of-course exams for the district.

Superintendent Robert Jaklich credited the improvements to professional development and the district's switch to a seven-period day last year.

"These gains are worthy of celebration and are a reflection of the outstanding efforts our students, teachers, staff and administrators have put forth," Jaklich said in a news release.

The superintendent could not be reached for additional comment.

Victoria East High School Principal Lisa Blundell said that through support from the administration, the campuses were able to provide their teachers with a second conference period for professional development and grading assignments.

"Teachers had a second conference period to align their instruction and determine what resources they needed to implement," Blundell said. "It was more or less a collaborative effort and a lot of hard work on behalf of the teachers."

Cheryl Sedlacek, instructional coach for Victoria West High School's math department, said her algebra I team met daily to discuss instructional strategies, activities and test results.

"Teachers made a stronger effort to include writing into their math lessons daily," Sedlacek said. "It helps internalize what the students learned in class that day and helps teachers better understand their thought processes."

Algebra teachers gave up after-school time to help students with their math skills, Sedlacek said.

"They just went above and beyond," she said.

Scores for STAAR exams taken at the elementary and middle school level reflected the state's averages of no significant growth, said Diane Boyett, VISD communications director.

The largest gains at the elementary and middle school level were in the fifth and eighth grades.

Eunice Sanchez, a mother of three elementary school students attending VISD campuses, said her daughter passed her exams but her son in fifth grade showed some struggle in all three areas.

"It all goes back to the school he was in," said Sanchez, whose son transferred from Rowland Elementary School to William Wood Elementary School at the end of 2013. "Rowland provided him with tutoring, but he needed more one-on-one time with the teacher."

After his transfer, Sanchez said she saw improvements in her son's learning at the smaller country school.

"Rowland definitely needs more teachers," Sanchez said. "They have more kids in their classrooms, which means they need more help there."



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