The Judson ISD Board of Trustees on April 18 approved a policy update for the promotion of students in grades 6-8 to the next grade level.

Two-minute impact

Under the new policy, students in grades 6-8 can be promoted to the next grade level by having an overall average of 70 for all subject areas, and a grade of 70 or above in three of the following areas:
  • English Language Arts and Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
Mary Duhart-Toppen, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning, said that under the policy prior to the update, students could pass the STAAR test for subjects such as reading and math and still be held back due to failing the actual class. This change would make the promotion requirements for grades 6-8 similar to neighboring campuses, Duhart-Toppen said.
District staff said that the students who are struggling with subject areas will still have intervention to assist them in the subject they are having difficulties in.

Meeting highlights

Trustee Monica Ryan raised concern with students being able to move on to the next grade level while failing in English or math classes.

“Let’s create wording where you either have to pass the class or pass the STAAR, just like we do at high school,” Ryan said.

Trustee Jennifer Rodríguez said the updated policy would benefit children who put in the effort, since the new policy requires an overall average of 70 for all subject areas. If a child were making below a 70 in a single subject, then they would have to make up the average through other classes.

“I really think this policy is put in place for those kids who are trying, who are working,” Rodríguez said. “And then we have safety nets for those kids in the next grade up, because this would clearly flag that that child needs further interventions in whatever their next grade is in middle school or when they go to high school.”

Duhart-Toppen said without the updated policy, 1,825 children would be retained. With the updated parameters, that number would drop to 834 students.

Principals are working with teachers on academic contracts for students and other remedial efforts to help students who fall behind in a given subject area, Duhart-Toppen said.

“I don’t want anybody to think that we are not addressing this,” she said.

Trustees approved the policy update, and requested additional information on intervention methods from staff.