Special to The Dallas Examiner
On Jan. 12, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced that the Texas Education Agency has selected Lancaster Elementary School – also known as the Lancaster Engineering Academy – as one of seven campuses across the state to take part in a best practices case studies project.
“We are extremely excited to be afforded an opportunity to highlight the fact that all students can and will learn provided the right conditions regardless of their economic status or ZIP code,” Lancaster Engineering Academy Principal Nakesha Reddick said. “While this is a prestigious honor, we remain committed to the cause, and understand that the work does not stop here … it is just the beginning.”
Each of the seven campuses were designated by TEA as a High Performing and High Progress Title I Reward School. All have proven successful in classroom efforts on campuses with a high percentage of students from economically disadvantaged families and high mobility rates. Those selected to take part in this project include:
• Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD – Daingerfield-Lone Star Junior High School
• Hudson ISD – Hudson Middle School
• KIPP Inc. Charter – KIPP Shine in Houston
• Lancaster ISD – Lancaster Elementary School
• San Angelo ISD – Glenmore Elementary School
• Walcott ISD – Walcott Elementary School
• Vista Del Futuro Charter – Vista Del Futuro Charter School in El Paso
“The success taking place at each one of these schools represents the very best in Texas public education,” Morath said. “Each year, we spotlight that success to assist other school districts in achieving similar positive results.”
Lancaster ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael D. McFarland said that this recognition affirms the work of Principal Reddick, her leadership team, teachers and really the entire district.
“To be selected out of more than 9,000 public schools in the state of Texas is a significant accomplishment,” he said. “Lancaster Engineering Academy is a true ‘myth buster’ and we have other myth busters in Lancaster ISD because we reject the idea that ZIP code, ethnicity or economics are defining factors to student performance. Lancaster Engineering Academy will continue to be our blueprint for excellence as they show that with the right systems, programs, practices and people that our students can perform commiserate with students from other economically advantaged areas.”
The case study project – which will be carried out by representatives from TEA, the Texas Comprehensive Center at AIR and Texas Center for District and School Support – will meet with members of each campus leadership team. In these meetings, field researchers will conduct interviews to learn more about a school’s improvement practices and successes. Interviews will be conducted with the principal, teachers and the district coordinator of school improvement. Other campus leaders may also be interviewed.
After site visits, researchers will utilize the information to develop campus highlight case studies. The final case studies will be available to all Texas schools via the TEA website as well as distributed in Texas school improvement trainings. For the 2014-2015 school year, 11 Texas campuses were chosen to take part in Reward School case studies.