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PATTONVILLE — Prairiland ISD administrators voiced satisfaction with the district’s 2021 STARR testing results at a Monday night meeting and shared information about plans to spend roughly $1.28 million in federal funds designed to help schools recover from learning losses resulting from the effects of coronavirus.

“If you look at our scores, in most cases, we have done better than the state average,” Curriculum Director Kelli Pickle said. “We want to be better than that, but our teachers and students have done a remarkable job as a majority of our scores are above state average, and those that are not, in many cases, were because we had frequent staff changes during the school year as a result of Covid-19 quarantines.”

A test analysis, for example, reveals the number of students who mastered grade-level reading for grades three through eight along with English I and English II at the high school all were above the state average, some by as much as by 26 students. Math results showed, with the exception of fourth grade, grade levels three through eight with higher than state average numbers. At the high school, results showed four students behind the state mastery number. Science numbers in grade five were ahead by 22 students, by nine students in grade eight and behind six in high school.

Pickle warned testing is expected to become more rigorous as the state moves to an online testing platform and includes questions requiring more critical thinking skills.

“There are a lot of different ways with online testing that the state can make the test much more rigorous,” Pickle said. “So our job, to be honest, is to prepare for the change before the change. We want the kids to see as many rigorous examples as we can. We are not ready to just be satisfied, we’re going to have to keep moving forward.”

Superintendent Jeff Ballard shared information about plans to spend about $1.28 million in federal funds through the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant.

“We plan to spend about $50,000 for tutoring for students who did not pass STAAR, and pay teachers as much as $50 an hour for a required 30 hours of state-mandated tutoring,” Ballard said. The district has roughly 75 students who need tutoring in more than one subject and another 15 who need it in one subject.

In addition, the district plans to spend $65,000 for reading and math interventionists, $60,000 to send 30 teachers to a reading academy, $642,000 for teacher and staff retention, $75,000 for technology upgrades and $142,000 for HVAC replacement over three years.

In other action, the board awarded a $24,279 bid for gym bleacher replacement, reviewed student handbooks and the district Code of Conduct and approved a yearly charge of $35 for Chromebooks beginning with the junior high and $25 for grade school children who take a device home.

The board accepted the resignation of Justin Hampton, recently employed to teach science at Blossom Elementary School, employed with Jennifer Dawson in his place and Alexis Williams as a teacher assistant.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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