A Longview Elementary School Ranks "Exemplary"

A decade of excellence at an East Texas school.  The Texas Education Agency's school rankings are out, and only 3 East Texas schools have been named "Exemplary" when it comes to academic performance.

Among those is Longview's Hudson PEP, getting the state's top ranking for the 10th year in a row.

During the school year, classrooms at Hudson PEP are full of students, going above and beyond. That's because every student at Hudson has been nominated, tested, and selected to go there.

"Children who are average or above ability have the opportunity to come to Hudson PEP if they are selected so we attract very high quality student, students who can perform at high levels," says Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Charlotte Parramore.  She says that plays a big part in their success.

"At Hudson PEP we expect students to pass.  We know that they will pass so we expect a 100 percent passing on our state assessments," Parramore says.

But other schools in the district don't rank as high. South Ward Elementary, less than 2 miles away from Hudson, ranked "Acceptable" for this year.

South Ward Principal, Carl Briley, says "We accept 'Acceptable' this year, but it's not what we want."

What Briley wants is for his school to be ranked "Exemplary," like Hudson PEP. "They have more kids that are probably high academic kids.  I think that does give them an advantage by the nature, the type of school that it is you just kind of expect those kids to do well," says Briley.

Many wonder then, is having schools select their students based on performance the way to gain "Exemplary" status?

"To structure all schools on a selection process would not serve every student, would not serve every family so I think the whole idea of neighborhood schools meets the needs of a lot of people," Parramore says.

Parramore also says other students are getting the same curriculum as Hudson PEP. "We're providing that gifted curriculum for all children and then at Hudson PEP they're simply taking that same curriculum and adding on to it." That adding on seems to be adding up.

As mentioned, two other schools ranked "Exemplary" in East Texas: Harmony Elementary in Upshur County and Tatum Primary in Rusk County.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.