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District maintains "Acceptable" status with TAKS report

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Commerce – Commerce Independent School District administrators celebrated Tuesday as the much-awaited accountability ratings were released by the Texas Education Agency.

With increased scores on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), the District maintained its Academically Acceptable rating but increased Commended Performance in all areas to Recognized and Exemplary levels.

"We are so pleased with the work our staff has done to help students achieve these levels of success. These results show that we are not only closing the gap but we are ensuring all students rise to new levels of achievement," CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper said.

Cooper commended the work led by Director of Curriculum Julia Robinson to ensure all students excelled, including special education students, whose test scores were included in the accountability ratings for the first time.

TAKS results show the District meeting the Recognized or Exemplary rating in 18 of 24 categories, which counts all tests and all sub-populations. Although math and science have not reached the Recognized level for all sub-groups, both areas showed increases over last year.

Commerce High School showed growth in 17 of 20 areas, with significant gains in math. Principal Virdie Montgomery attributed his campus's improvement to the delivery of instruction which included the use of technology and the focus on relationships.

"Our teachers grasped the sense of urgency and used technology to improve delivery of instruction. We also made a commitment through Rachel's Challenge and we feel it has impact on relationships with the kids. It fosters a family atmosphere where we are all in this together," Montgomery said.

Beginning its fourth year in use at CHS, Rachel's Challenge helps build an environment of kindness and compassion.

Specific focus on needs based on data also contributed to success this year, according to Montgomery.

Commerce Middle School increased performance in 16 of 19 areas while A. C. Williams Elementary School showed improvement in 12 of 18 categories. Commerce Elementary School is not tested on TAKS, but will receive its rating from its pairing with ACW Elementary.

All campuses should receive Academically Acceptable ratings when official results are released on July 28.

"We can celebrate our achievement, but we aren't where we want to be yet," Cooper said. "We will continue to work to see each student's achievement level rise. Our staff has been exceptional under the direction of Julia Robinson. The district curriculum presented through the use of technology has really made a difference with our students," Cooper explained.