Eight to 10 Stephenville High School senior students are not currently eligible to participate in graduation exercises due to TAKS failures and parents are expected to address the SISD Board of Trustees during Monday night’s meeting scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the administration building.
“Many of those (students) just missed passing by one question,” Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said. State law prevents an individual from receiving a diploma until all requirements are met, he said, including passing all parts of the TAKS tests.
“Local policy says you cannot participate in graduation exercises until all requirements are met,” Floyd said.
The board is expected to address the situation and make a decision as to whether or not the local policy should be changed to let the students walk with their class and/or receive a certificate of completion rather than a diploma. The students will not have another opportunity to pass the test until summer, Floyd said.
Because of increasing test standards, this is a problem many school districts are faced with and forty thousand seniors statewide who have passed their course work face not receiving a graduation diploma with their classmates because of TAKS failures.
Floyd said the whole testing process is under revision and he expects the state to move from TAKS testing to end of course testing in the future.
“The current set up is not working,” Floyd said.
Floyd said some districts that are allowing students to participate in graduation ceremonies without passing all parts of the TAKS tests are Cleburne, Arlington, Azle, Crowley and White Settlement, among others.
Gov. Perry signed Senate Bill 673 in May allowing any special education student that has attended high school for four years to participate in graduation exercises.
“Now we have a brand new law taking place two weeks before graduation,” Floyd said. “Districts are all in a tizzy over it.”
Floyd said only two students in his district were affected by the new law and they elected not to participate in graduation ceremonies until they had completed all requirements.
He said commencement exercises are planned for 8 p.m., May 25 at TSU Memorial Stadium. Dr. Joyce Anderson will give the board a report on current TAKS testing results for the district.
Travis Stilwell, SHS principal, will give a report on TAKS, graduation and special education issues.
Floyd said the board will consider allowing the technology department to dispose of used equipment through Ebay. With the installation of the new Voiceover IP program the district will have things like telephones that are no longer needed.
Another agenda item to be considered will benefit SISD employees. Floyd said the board will look at participating in the new EXC Region XI Employee Benefits Cooperative for 2007-08. By joining the cooperative the district could provide employees with vision, dental and cancer policies at a reduced rate, Floyd said.
In other business the board will,
Issue a number of proclamations, Consider approval of the City of Stephenville’s “Safe Routes to School” resolution, Consider approval of the District Improvement Plan, Organize and elect officers for 2007-08, Consider area to place an electronic marquee for the high school, and Hear a report from the superintendent on the progress of the COPS grant that city police are working on to help fund a second school resource officer.