More than 90% of all SSISD 3rd, 5th graders pass TAKS reading test
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

March 9, 2006 -- Sulphur Springs Independent School District officials on Monday reported that the results of the third and fifth grade  Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills reading tests showed a more than 90 percent passing rate at all district elementary schools and Douglas Intermediate School.

The information was presented during the regular meeting of the SSISD board of trustees.

Bowie Elementary School had the best pass rate at 97 percent for the third grade reading test administered in February. Austin and Lamar both followed with a 95 percent pass rates, and Travis Elementary with 93 percent of third graders passing the reading TAKS test. Douglas Intermediate fifth graders also had a 91 percent pass rate.

Third and fifth graders will have two more chances to take the reading test, and on Monday a six-week intervention session began. Students who do not pass the retest in April will be enrolled in summer school, according to Superintendent Patsy Bolton and information provided by Director of Elementary Education Connie Mabe.

In other news, SSISD will only have to pay $293.33 for its share of rental fees for the new voting machines, required under state law.

Overall, that's 2 percent of the total $44,000 the county paid for the new equipment, or $880, which will be split between the school, city and hospital district.

The three entities will split training costs as well, but each will be responsible for software costs associated with the machines.

"Originally, the county said the cost would be about 3 percent, so this is less than we thought it was going to be," Bolton said during Monday night's board meeting.

However, the district won't be required to pay any fees associated with the new voting machines if it does not draw enough candidates to require an election. As of Monday night, that was a possibility, since only two candidates, incumbent Judy Gillem and Don Sapaugh, had filed for the two full-term seats.

Bolton also noted receiving notification from Natash White, with Region VIII Service Center and Parent Involvement Network, that SSISD Head Start was awarded the Texas Outstanding Parent Program award at the last Texas Association of School Boards Conference.

"It is a blessing to work with Hillary Young, Della Robinson, Rita Taylor and Rebecca Anderson. They do such an excellent job serving on Region VIII's Parent Involvement Advisory Committee. They have been an inspiration to the committee, and we applaud them for their enthusiasm, hard work and dedication," White wrote in a memo to Bolton, which she shared with board members Monday night. "You truly have outstanding professionals in your district. We thank you."'

The Head Start accomplishment also appeared on TASB's Parent Involvement Network newsletter: www.parentinvovlementnetwork.org.

Hillary Young presented board members with a more in-depth overview of what the $1.47 million Head Start refunding grant application they were being asked to approve helps pay for. She noted that this year the grant is for $75,000 less than in the previous year due to an oral health grant the district was awarded. She also noted that the district pays 50 percent of the teacher salaries, while Head Start funding pays the other 50 percent. The programs currently serve 60 students at Beginnings Learning Center and about 100 at Early Childhood Learning Center.

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