Valley schools not making the grade

Pam Van Ravensway, administrator of the Brownsville School District Assessment,

Pam Van Ravensway, administrator of the Brownsville School District Assessment, Research and Evaluation Department told Action 4 News Rivera High School has been classified as a Title I School Improvement Stage 3 school, by the Texas Education Agency since the beginning of the school year.

The high school failed to meet standardized testing marks repeatedly, so the state has stepped in with extra resources and facilitators to help get them up to par.

Ravensway said they TMre not missing the mark because of lack of effort by school staff or students, but because they are adjusting to the new STAARS test. She adds 322 schools in Region 1 " from Brownsville to Laredo " also have Missed AYP ratings.

"Even when we went from TAAS to TAKS for the first couple of years the scores dropped, but then in a few years (they went up), Ravensway said. They are always raising the bar and we want to do that with our students.

Many districts throughout the state and nation have raised concerns about standardized testing, citing unrealistic expectations and have applied for AYP waivers.

"Is there a flaw? I would say most people in the U.S. would say, ~yes there is a flaw, TM Ravensway said. That's why they've applied for that waiver."

All other high schools at BISD except Pace High School also had "Missed AYP" ratings in 2012. Harlingen High School, Harlingen High School-South, La Feria High School, San Benito High School and Rio Hondo High School also Missed AYP ratings as well.

Van Ravensway is confident the Raiders will overcome.

"When you get to stage 3, students have a school of choice, (meaning they can transfer schools if they want to), Van Ravensway said. But Rivera as an example - the community believes in Rivera - we only had 14 students apply for that."

Also as part of the stage 3 classification, Van Ravensway said Rivera High School is required to provide a tutor for any student that wants one. She said of the 2,100 students, 1,700 students are currently being tutored.