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Achievement on State Tests
The school district’s results on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills steadily increased, so that more than 90 percent of students met standards in core subjects.
In 2003, Texas replaced the TAAS with the more rigorous Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS.
Comparing Texas Districts of Similar Size
Of 187 similarly sized districts, eight were designated either “recognized” or “exemplary” in 2004-05. Of those, Hildalgo serves far more poor and Latino students.
|School Districts||African-American||Hispanic||White||Economically disadvantaged|
Four Broad Priorities
The education system is thought of as having students at its center, with all the district’s activities and employees serving as supports for students. District staff members and administrators continually discuss how to improve all services to benefit students, including studying scholarly texts on instruction together. Employees strive to solve problems collaboratively.
Number of Advanced Placement Candidates Tested
Teaching and Learning
Local staff members wrote the district’s curriculum, aligning it to state content standards and assessments. The curriculum is mapped horizontally to be consistent across grade levels and vertically to prepare students for the next grade. Study is based on “essential questions” posed to students and “enduring understandings” they must have.
Teachers use “social learning” models that emphasize discussion, group work, and cooperative learning, and “inductive models” that treat subjects as joint inquiries and problems to be solved. The district also uses dual-language instruction in English and Spanish through elementary school, and is phasing that practice in at higher grades. Benchmark assessments are given frequently, and the results are mined for clues to inform teaching. Staff members conduct classroom “walk-throughs” and give one another feedback to improve instruction.
A partnership between the schools and the local business community offers students mentoring, internship opportunities, and work experience.
High School Attendance Rate
- 96.2 The attendance rate at Hidalgo High School for the 2003-04 school year was more than 95 percent.
The program also features enhanced counseling services, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. Students are encouraged to explore their interests and broaden their skills and become aware of future opportunities. Students are guided along “career pathways,” including apprenticeship and certification programs and study leading to two- and four-year college degrees.
Parental Involvement and Empowerment
“Parental academies” offer courses in adult literacy, parenting, technology skills, money management, and career pathways, as well as coursework toward a General Educational Development certificate or secondary school diploma.
SOURCE: Education Week and Hidalgo Independent School District
A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2006 edition of Education Week as Measures in Success in Hidalgo, Texas