Staying off "the list"

Staying off "the list"

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - KLTV looked at the past 10 years of accountability ratings and one district has managed to stay off those lists all those years. Kilgore Independent School District has not had a single school on one of those lists in more than a decade.

Cara Cooke knows what it’s like to see a school she works for on one of these lists.

“I really believe that across the state even those schools are trying to figure out what the missing pieces are,” she said.

She’s been with Kilgore ISD for almost a year, but before that she worked for districts that struggled.

“Thankfully, we’re not having to contend with that so we can just look forward instead of having to clean up from behind,” she explained.

She says finding those missing pieces begins in understanding your students within that district.

“Different culture, different backgrounds students have,” she continued, “ so, the trick is, if you want to call it a trick, is to be really in touch with your students.”

She says it is true that the tests are getting harder, standards are rising and fast, but tracking students progress and not letting them get too far behind, helps when new standards are set in place.

“Provide intensive care for them, pull up alongside them and say, ‘okay what is it that this students needs?’”

And for parents there is something you can do if your student is at a school on the list. Get involved, she said.

“They can help the teacher work with their own child to be successful,” she said.

She’s seen districts with heavy parental involvement on that list and districts with minimal parental involvement on that list.

“It takes everybody working together, so if you have any missing piece then it causes the other group to have to rise up and work even harder.”

And they’re not perfect, she says, but as KISD continues to improve certain pieces she said they are sure not to let others slip in the process.

“You can sit around and blame things,” she said, “because we have issues still here, things that we’re working on, and we’re not going to cover them up, we’re hitting them head on.”

Because really, she said, it isn’t about the list, it’s about the most important pieces, the students.

She said parents can talk with teachers, attend any meetings a school holds for parents, or schedule their own meeting to help understand those tests and, in turn, help bring up those scores. And of course, helping with homework.

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