The school year ended with a big successful high school graduation, preliminary TAKS scores sent to RISD by the Texas Education Agency, and RISD receiving notification of three grants.
The first one was for $250,000 for dropout prevention and recovery. This is for two years. The second was a $20,000 grant to assist high school clubs. The largest was for $1.23 million to rebuild science labs. Our staff and our consultants applied for these grants. I plan to write more details about these grants in the future.
What I would like to inform the public in this letter is about our graduation policies and TEA requirements for graduation. The media blitz about who gets to "walk across the stage" was a statewide issue. The focus in Nueces County was on Robstown ISD and Corpus Christi ISD. The attention made it seem as if we were the culprits because we would not allow students that did not meet all graduation requirements to walk across the stage.
A school board and administration cannot win an issue either way. If you allow students that have not completed all graduation requirements, as established by state law, TEA and local board, we upset citizens that believe that to walk across the stage one has to flatly earn it.
If the school boards and administration do not allow students to walk across the stage, we are insensitive and should receive the blame for students not completing all graduation requirements.
Either way we cannot win this issue. The bottom line is that our society has established rules and regulations to earn the right to "walk across the stage" on graduation night. Teachers, lawyers, physicians, pharmacists, electricians, barbers and many others have to pass a test in order to practice their profession.
Students as established by the TEA and policies must also complete the requirements as established by law. In Texas, the State Board of Education and the state legislature are the elected bodies that set graduation requirements.
The school districts implement the law and unless the law changes, students in Texas must pass all portions of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and have the required number of credits to graduate.
The TAKS is becoming more difficult and students have five opportunities to pass the math, science, social studies, English Language Arts, and writing parts of the TAKS test.
Robstown policy allows the students to "walk" at commencement, but our policy does not allow the students to "walk across the stage," it only allows the school administration to recognize them as summer graduates.
These students that fail to complete a requirement are allowed the retake the tests in the summer or until they are successful. When they meet all requirements, the students receive their diplomas.
Most districts provide tutorials to assist students; we do throughout the year and enroll students in our Alternative Learning Center or ALC.
The TAKS test is becoming more and more difficult, so it is critical that parents get involved when they find out that their child was not successful when they take the Exit Level Exams their junior year of high school.
Please call me if you have any questions at 767-6600, Ext. 2010 or better yet, visit our high school staff.
Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, Ext. 2010.