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BISD to appeal TEA rating

September 4, 2018

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BISD

to appeal

TEA rating

By GARY LONG

Staff Writer

The Brownsville Independent School District is appealing its State Accountability ranking to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

BISD received a letter grade of B and a score of 90 in the ratings announced Aug. 15 by the Texas Education Agency. In a letter to Morath, BISD Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas notes that Lincoln Park School, an alternative campus for pregnant students, received an Improvement Required rating, which kept BISD as a whole from achieving an A rating. All other BISD campuses, alternative or otherwise, made the necessary academic gains over the last year, she said.

“Lincoln Park is special. For this matter, my appeal relates to the inclusion of Lincoln Park School in our district’s rating,” Zendejas states in the letter.

“Lincoln Park School supports a totally different type of student than other alternative campuses,” she states. “The students attending Lincoln Park School are teenage pregnant minors (grade levels 6-12) or students who recently gave birth.”

These students are often scheduled for doctor visits during the school day, some are caring for more than one child and they are dealing with their own and their children’s health, the letter points out.

“As a mother and educator, I believe the priorities of these students is often placed on their children’s health not their studies,” Zendejas states. “Many of these girls are struggling single parents trying desperately to meet their needs and those of their children. Lincoln Park provides a safe and supportive environment for pregnant minors to complete graduation requirements and additional courses in parenting and vocational training.”

PREMIUM VERSION

BISD

to appeal

TEA rating

By GARY LONG

Staff Writer

The Brownsville Independent School District is appealing its State Accountability ranking to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

BISD received a letter grade of B and a score of 90 in the ratings announced Aug. 15 by the Texas Education Agency. In a letter to Morath, BISD Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas notes that Lincoln Park School, an alternative campus for pregnant students, received an Improvement Required rating, which kept BISD as a whole from achieving an A rating. All other BISD campuses, alternative or otherwise, made the necessary academic gains over the last year, she said.

“Lincoln Park is special. For this matter, my appeal relates to the inclusion of Lincoln Park School in our district’s rating,” Zendejas states in the letter.

“Lincoln Park School supports a totally different type of student than other alternative campuses,” she states. “The students attending Lincoln Park School are teenage pregnant minors (grade levels 6-12) or students who recently gave birth.”

These students are often scheduled for doctor visits during the school day, some are caring for more than one child and they are dealing with their own and their children’s health, the letter points out.

“As a mother and educator, I believe the priorities of these students is often placed on their children’s health not their studies,” Zendejas states. “Many of these girls are struggling single parents trying desperately to meet their needs and those of their children. Lincoln Park provides a safe and supportive environment for pregnant minors to complete graduation requirements and additional courses in parenting and vocational training.”

In the letter Zendejas points out that “when pregnancies come unexpectedly and more so during the teenage years it collides with adolescence, family relationships and social development. … Lincoln Park was developed to unite these factors and give students the opportunity they need to succeed.

“Lincoln Park has made a difference in BISD, allowing our most at-risk students to complete their education and enter the work force or pursue post-secondary education. Pregnant students who are at risk of withdrawing from school now have an opportunity to remain in a supportive educational environment. Last year, we graduated 64 students in a proud ceremony with their parents and children,” the letter states.

“I would ask that this type of program/school be considered a community service school and not be included in district ratings similar to Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEP). At times, like JJAEP students, Lincoln Park School students have opted to return to their assigned campuses,” the letter states.

The letter concludes by asking Morath to assign schools throughout the state that support teenage pregnant minors, similar to Lincoln Park School, a status similar to a JJAEP.

“I invite you to visit us in Brownsville and see for yourself the academic and heartfelt program that is offered at Lincoln Park School. Our district would be extremely happy to receive your affirmative consideration to this request,” the letter states.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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