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Calls, emails pour in during live STAAR session at HISD-TV studio

February 28, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

The calls poured in as HISD hosted a live forum on the state’s new accountability test: STAAR. More than 100 people crowded the HISD-TV studio and two overflow areas to watch the forum, and viewers at home called in and emailed their questions throughout the show. More than 75 phone calls were received during the event.

Students in the live studio audience.

Host Denisse Cantu fielded questions from the live studio audience, callers, and email. A common theme emerged from the students who participated: “Why the change to STAAR?” (Answer: To measure students’ college readiness.)

“STAAR will prepare students for high school and beyond,” said Chief Middle Schools Officer Dallas Dance.

Other students and parents asked about preparations for STAAR. Some expressed concern about whether tutorials would be enough, and what the district was expecting  performance-wise in the first year of a new accountability system.

“It’s our expectation that you will do very well,” said Mark Shenker, director of the High Schools Office. He emphasized the Grad Labs, tutorials, after-school resources, and weekend sessions that continue to be available to students in HISD.

Several viewers called in to ask about the district’s plans for delaying the 15 percent requirement for high schoolers’ end-of-course exams. Based on the Texas Education Agency’s  move to defer the rule, HISD administration will recommend to the school board that the requirement be delayed a year.

A complete report of the questions and answers from this event will be posted here and on houstonisd.org in coming days. If you have a question about STAAR, please email STAAR@houstonisd.org.

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