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Little Elm ISD Superintendent Responds after TEA Released STAAR Results

This week, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released spring 2021 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results. The results include exams in mathematics and reading for grades 3–8, 4th & 7th grade writing, 5th and 8th grade science, 8th grade social studies, and high school end-of-course (EOC) exams in Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History.

 

As a result of the learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students not meeting grade level increased from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels, with English I and English II being the only exceptions.

Daniel Gallagher, superintendent for Little Elm ISD, encourages parents to remember the kind of school year students had as they review the test results. “My biggest concern with the STAAR test is that I don't want our students or parents to equate a test result with future success,” he said. 

 

Gallagher believes the pandemic had a tremendous impact on our students’ academic success this past year. “I think it's safe to say that every single member of our community has been impacted by the pandemic and our students are no different. With so many barriers, missed days, revolving absences - this school year was about teaching students in the safest and healthiest environment possible.” Gallagher noted that because of the difficult challenges, it was a tough year for students and teachers.

 

But he recognized it wasn’t all bad. Gallagher traded his superintendent shoes for a day and stepped into a teacher role at Brent Elementary during the spring semester. He spent an entire day teaching a fourth grade class and was appreciative at what he saw. “If there is anything positive that came from the pandemic it's that our students and teachers continue to prove that they are resilient. We have also learned that some technology and resources we used last year may offer additional opportunities for our students and teachers in the future.” 

 

The District will be analyzing the data from the state and campuses are already putting together a plan to address learning gaps created since the spring of 2019. 

“We will be receiving ESSER funds to support our plans to provide more opportunities inside and outside the school day to best support our students. Additionally, we are adding instructional content coaches which will be an added value to our teacher teams as they design lessons to address the needs of individual students and students as a whole.”