This website provides pictures that show the history of U.S. Presidential Elections from 1960 - 2004, with a county by county look at the vote (red=Republican, blue=Democrat), and this website does the same for Congressional elections from 2006.
During Monday night's Board Meeting, the Board received good news about the District's performance on this year's TAKS and SDAA II testing. The PowerPoint presentation from the meeting details the successes of the District and the continued increases in performance by our students.
Our successes, which include being an exemplary district in writing across all student groups, and having improvement in 23 of 26 performance areas with 12 being rated exemplary and 10 being rated recognized bears out the problem with the current accountability system. Can you imagine if a corporation with 26 divisions was judged not on the success of 22, but on the performance of a few individuals in one division. While accountability is important, the system should reward rather than penalize the kind of success and continuous improvement experienced by Spring Branch.
Spring Branch ISD students continue to show improvement on the 2007 Texas Assessment
of Knowledge and Skills, according to preliminary
TAKS results presented June 25 to the district’s Board of Trustees during its regular monthly
Keith Haffey, executive director of Spring Branch ISD’s Department of Accountability and Research, presented the district’s preliminary 2007 TAKS and State Developed Alternative Assessment II (SDAA II) results. The 2007 preliminary results were compared to passing rates in 2006.
Final results will not be tabulated until after all retesting is completed later this summer.
Preliminary report highlights:
SBISD students improved in 23 of 26 performance areas
Students maintained performance in two areas
Exemplary ratings increased from nine areas in 2006 to 12 areas in 2007
10 areas were rated recognized this year versus 13 areas in 2006
four areas were judged acceptable in both 2006 and
SBISD students exceeded the exemplary rating in writing across all student groups
The district narrowed gaps toward the exemplary district rating to six or fewer points in reading/English language arts and social studies
The district also narrowed gaps toward the recognized district rating in math (15 to 5 points) and in science (22 to 12 points)
The Texas Education Agency’s campus rating system includes exemplary, or 90 percent or more students passing; recognized, or 75 percent through 89 percent passing; academically acceptable and academically unacceptable.
Applying these standards to student performance by subject area, SBISD students performed at the exemplary level in 12 areas, up from 9 areas in 2006. Ten areas reached the recognized level, while 4 areas were deemed academically acceptable.
Overall, all 5 student groups measured reached exemplary performance levels in writing. In addition, performance in reading/English language arts and social studies improved to within 5 points or less of the exemplary level of 90 percent or more, while gaps narrowed in math and science toward the state’s new higher level for recognized, now 75 percent.
Superintendent of Schools Duncan Klussmann congratulated SBISD students, teachers, staff and community members for a job well done. He noted that the current Texas accountability system has no reward for earning generally high scores when a school district is ranked by its lowest performing subgroup, or score.
"We need a new system of accountability in our state that recognizes and rewards what is really happening in our schools," he said. Many SBISD schools may be named exemplary or recognized campuses, based on preliminary 2007 TAKS results.
At our Special Board Meeting Monday evening, the Board adopted the District's 2007-2008 Salary Schedule. The District's starting teacher salary moves to $43,000, with incremental increases for each successive year of service. The Salary Schedule represents a 3% increase over the 2006-2007 salaries.
While the 2007-2008 Salary Schedule does not include a provision for performance pay, I believe the issue deserves serious consideration prior to the adoption of next year's Salary Schedule.
The bills in red did not pass, while the bills in green passed both the House and the Senate. Of the "green" bills, only 2 were vetoed by the Governor, House Bill 2646 on page 6 and House Bill 3457 on page 58.
Our only special presentation was Award for Financial Reporting awarded to Spring Branch by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. Spring Branch is one of only 51 districts in Texas and 491 in the United States to receive this honor.
We then held a Public Hearing on the FY 2008 (July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2008) Budget. Two people spoke during the public hearing. Chuck Davidson asked about the 4 cents the State is giving districts the option of adding. Dr. Klussmann said the Board cannot officially set a tax rate until the certified tax rolls are set in the fall. Mr. Davidson said he is in favor
of adding 4 cents to the tax rate. Iris Story said she would like to see funds for the Odyssey of the Mind Program added back into
the budget for 2007-2008. Membership for each school would be $135/school.
We then received a presentation about the District's TAKS and SDAA results TAKS and SDAA test results. For more information on these results with my analysis, click here.
As part of our Board's work to revise the Board's Policies, we had first readings of DEC (Local) (Compensation and Benefits: Leaves and Absences) and CRE (Local) (Insurance and Annuities Management Workers' Compensation). We also adopted revisions to EG (Local) (Curriculum Development), EH (Local) (Curriculum Design), FFAA (Local) (Wellness and Health Services: Physical Examinations), FMG (Local) (Student Activities: Travel), and GKDA (Local) (Nonschool Use of School Facilities: Distribution of Nonschool Literature).
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling today in a very closely watched case involving student free speech rights.
The factual background of the case from the Supreme Court's decision in Morse v. Frederick:
On January 24, 2002, the Olympic Torch Relay passed through Juneau, Alaska, on its way to the winter games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The torchbearers were to proceed along a street in front of Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS) while school was in session. Petitioner Deborah Morse, the school principal, decided to permit staff and students to participate in the Torch Relay as an approved social event or class trip. Students were allowed to leave class to observe the relay from either side of the street. Teachers and administrative officials monitored the students’ actions.
Respondent Joseph Frederick, a JDHS senior, was lateto school that day. When he arrived, he joined his friends (all but one of whom were JDHS students) across the street from the school to watch the event. Not all the students waited patiently. Some became rambunctious, throwing plastic cola bottles and snowballs and scuffling with their classmates. As the torchbearers and camera crews passed by, Frederick and his friends unfurled a 14-foot banner bearing the phrase: "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS." The large banner was easily readable by the students on the other side of the street.
Principal Morse immediately crossed the street and demanded that the banner be taken down. Everyone but Frederick complied. Morse confiscated the banner and told Frederick to report to her office, where she suspended him for 10 days.
Morse later explained that she told Frederick to take the banner down because she thought it encouraged illegal drug use, in violation of established school policy. Juneau School Board Policy No. 5520 states: "The Board specifically prohibits any assembly or public expression that . . . advocates the use of substances that are illegal to minors . . . ."
Chief Justice Roberts delivered the Court's opinion in Morse v. Frederick, in which a divided Supreme Court held as follows:
out of 10 middle school students (92%) say that it is likely that they
will attend college, but nearly 7 of 10 (68%) indicate that they have
little or no information about how to choose high school classes that
will prepare them for college, according to a nationwide survey of
middle level students released by NASSP and Phi Delta Kappa
International (PDK). Conducted by Harris Interactive, the "A Voice from the Middle"
survey of 1,814 students in grades seven and eight reveals several
stark contrasts between students’ educational goals and their beliefs
about how they will achieve them. The poll, funded by Lumina Foundation
for Education as part of its KnowHow2GO campaign, may be the very first national snapshot of the aspirations and school experiences of middle level students.
The number of available free ways for the artistically challenged (including the author of this blog) to feel artistic keeps increasing. I previously posted about JacksonPollock.org and Wet Paint. Another option is Ambient Design's ArtRage2.
This is the homepage for ArtRage, the easy to use, stylish painting package that lets you get painting from the moment you open it up. You can paint with oils, sketch with pencils, sprinkle glitter, and more. You can paint with gold leaf, silver foil, and other metallic colors. You can even load in your photos as Tracing Images to help you recreate them as paintings.
For the professional user, ArtRage also offers multiple Layers for painting, and layered PSD document import and export so you can easily use it alongside your existing tools.
Check out the Features Page for more details, or visit the Forums to see some of the images being created by ArtRage users.
ArtRage 2 comes in 2 editions. The Free Edition can be downloaded from here at no cost. The Full version with all of the new features can also be purchased from the link below for $19.95US. ArtRage 2 Free contains all the features of ArtRage 1, with all the speed improvements we've made in the ArtRage 2 technology. It still lets you create, save, and print as many pictures as you like and doesn't limit their size. It has better support for a wider range of tablets, and we've even thrown in some new features for good measure. ArtRage 2 Full contains four new paint tools, the ability to paint on multiple layers, metallic paint, and a long list of additional features.