In August, the Texas Education Agency announced Hemphill made it onto the improvement required list for the second year in a row while Science Hill made it onto the list for the first time.
If Hemphill or Science Hall students continue to consecutively fail their academic evaluations for five consecutive years, under a 2015 law the state could close the school and replace the school board with an appointed board of managers.
On Monday, Alejandro Góngora, HCISD assistant superintendent of elementary schools and district coordinator for school improvement, presented two plans for improving Hemphill and Science Hall.
“This will be the last time we sit as [an improvement required] campus,” Góngora said.
Last year, HCISD said the root cause for the poor score at Hemphill was limited instructional capacity to deliver effective lessons in English and Spanish Language Arts.
One reason why Hemphill and Science Hall received an improvement required status is because the schools did not meet TEA’s Index 3: Closing the Achievement Gap that focuses on STAAR results of students who are Economically Disadvantaged and Hispanic.
According to Góngora, Hemphill and Science Hall have a higher Hispanic and low-income population and are often considered disadvantaged.
This year both campuses will focus on literacy professional development and professional learning communities with an in-depth look at third through fifth grade reading and writing data.
“This is not just a third-through-fifth grade concern. This is a pre-[Kindergarten]-through-fifth grade concern that can lead to concerns in our middle and high schools,” Góngora said.
HCISD trustee Esperanza Orosco commended Hemphill for the updated plan and the work staff is doing to ensure academic excellence.
“This plan is actually more whole. It is actually focused, complete realistic and well thought out,” Orosco said.
HCISD trustee Willie Tenorio said he has heard parents talk about how they can feel the positive changes happening to Science Hall and looks forward to great results.
The campus improvement teams will provide weekly updates, outline more accountability measures and create consistent systems to help students the students at Science Hall and Hemphill succeed.