Skidmore-Tynan students are making the grade
by Jason Collins
Jul 19, 2010 | 1772 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Throughout the Skidmore-Tynan grades, students exceeded the state average on their TAKS test scores – often times with 100 percent passing.

In only a couple of instances did the students not beat the state average and that was only by one percent.

“We are working on that,” said Patty Holubec, principal of the high school.

Holubec was pleased overall with the scores which could ultimately give the district an exemplary rating.

Robin Thomas, director of testing for the district, previously reported that “the high school should move from the ‘Recognized’ level to that of ‘Exemplary,’ the highest rating a school can attain.”

In addition, the high school campus currently is nationally categorized as a top performing high school by both the National Center for Educational Achievement and U.S. News and World Report.

Final scores are not expected until the end of July.

Compared to the state

In one of the more difficult portions, 11th-grade science, 100 percent of the students passed the test. Statewide, 91 percent of the students passed. In a repeat scoring, 100 percent of the students also passed the social studies portion.

In writing, 98 percent of the seventh-grade students passed compared to the state average of 95 percent.

Fourth-graders likewise had a high passing rate at 94 percent compared to statewide figures of 86 percent.

In reading, 100 percent of the ninth-graders passed compared to the statewide average of 92 percent.

Smaller doesn’t guarantee better

All the numbers show a high percentage of students passing – something that some might attribute to the smaller size of the school.

However, Holubec said that is just a common misconception.

“The smaller school thing is a myth,” Holubec said. “Honestly, it is much easier to keep percentages up in a larger school...

“One kid can fail something and it brings us down one percentage point.”

While the small school size is a disadvantage for percentages, it does have a benefit.

“Do we take advantage of being a small school?” she said. “You bet we do.”

“I know every one of our kids.

“Is it easier to know all of your kids? Yes, but then you have to do something with that.”

When one student falls behind, Holubec is there, questioning them why.

“Failure is easy,” she reminds students. “It is a easy for the teacher. It is easy for the student.

“But failure is not an option.”

So, when a student doesn’t make the grade, it is off to the required tutorials.

“We actually run another set of buses at 5 o’clock,” she said. “Every kid that is failing must be offered a tutorial – from elementary all the way up.”

“I haven’t found a teenager who doesn’t want to get out of the rut,” she said. “You have to stay with those kids.”

Her approach, she said, isn’t that different than it is any of the bigger schools where assistant principals share the load of keeping track of students.

A relationship with the students

So what does the staff of Skidmore-Tynan do to keep that solid relationship with their students?

Holubec said that talking to the students during lunch, being at the games and generally just supporting them outside of the classroom go a long way.

“It is that relationship that our students need so badly,” she said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at
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