South Houston High School has successfully appealed to regain its "Academically Acceptable" rating with the Texas Education Agency, Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis announced.
"The reason for the rating was a low indicator on completion rate among African-American students," Dr. Lewis said. "In other words, according to the agency, too many of South Houston's African-American students dropped out of school. After analyzing the data, we discovered that the only reason for their high dropout numbers for African American students was the number of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita students who transferred to South Houston after the storm and then withdrew a few months later."
Dr. Lewis said the district had no means to track those students who subsequently returned to Louisiana.
"By strict definition, if we can't track them we have to include them as dropouts," Dr. Lewis said.
"When the state asked us to take in the Katrina/Rita students, they told us at the time that they would be exempted from the accountability process. We and the state had identified these 'missing' kids as Katrina/Rita students. Under the arcane accountability rules, we had to list them as dropouts, the state had to list South Houston as "unacceptable" and we had to appeal to get the rating overturned."
South Houston High will now be rated as "Academically Acceptable" for the 2009-10 school year, "just as we knew it should have been," Dr. Lewis said.
"The campus is doing amazing things," he said, "and, in fact, had the highest academic gains among any of our schools for 2009-10. They reached Academically Recognized levels on 16 of the 20 indicators on which they are measured."