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Texas Education Agency: White Oak ISD part of reform program

By Christina Lane
Sept. 20, 2012 at 11 p.m.

White Oak ISD is one of 23 school districts in the state selected to participate in a consortium that will develop new education learning standards, a new state assessment and a new accountability system for public schools, Superintendent Mike Gilbert said Thursday.

The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium will hold its first meeting next month, according to the Texas Education Agency.

"It's quite an honor to be part of a group that's going to affect the assessment process for the entire state," Gilbert said. "We're very honored to be part of that. We're very excited to see what we can do to help make that process better."

The consortium will make recommendations to the Legislature in the areas of digital learning, standards, local control and multiple assessments.

"We're very excited to be getting away from testing that is not in the best interest of our students, that we do not believe is in the best interest of oWhite Oak ISD part of reform programur school and of a lot of other schools in the state," Gilbert said. "For us, the biggest issue is that we believe the assessment process ought to be multi-level. It ought to look at the body of work a student does over a period of time."

For example, instead of having a test in April to determine whether a student is proficient in algebra I, Gilbert suggested students could be reviewed based on a portfolio of data from the year. The portfolio could include test scores, papers and projects a student completes throughout the year.

The 23 schools selected to participate were chosen because of innovative work they do in the classroom as well as being known as "educational leaders," Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said.

"This exciting project will help the governor, legislative leaders and the Texas Education Agency craft a sound, well-thought out plan to move all Texas schools to the next performance level," Williams said.

Prior to being named to the consortium, White Oak was recognized for its digital learning practices by being one of seven schools in the state selected to be part of Power On Texas, which studied and documented how schools use technology in the classroom.

"Technology continues to be a tool that you can use to create a learning experience that meets the needs of students. It can be individualized," Gilbert said.

Using it in the classroom can affect students' success in the course and affect their lifestyle after school, he said.

"The infusion of technology and life is never going to back up," Gilbert said. "We have to find ways to infuse technology into the learning process so students can be successful, and take that success into the workplace or to further their education."

The other school districts named to the consortium are: Anderson-Shiro Consolidated, Clear Creek, College Station, Coppell, Duncanville, Eanes, Glen Rose, Guthrie CommonHarlingen Consolidated, Highland Park, Irving, Klein, Lake Travis, Lancaster, Lewisville, McAllen, McKinney, Northwest, Prosper, Richardson, Roscoe, and Round Rock.



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