La Porte High School has been named one of the Greater Houston Area's 10 Most Improved High Schools in a recent study conducted by Children at Risk.
Children at Risk (www.childrenatrisk.org) is a non-partisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of poor public policies affecting children. For the sixth year, the organization evaluated and ranked 144 high schools, 265 middle schools and 589 elementary schools in Greater Houston, which included the counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.
Using information from the Texas Education Agency, Children at Risk examined 14 variables to determine how well high schools have prepared students for post-secondary education. Included in those are Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) commended numbers in reading, math, social studies and science; attendance rate; mean SAT and ACT scores; percentage of economically disadvantaged students; Advanced Placement test-takers and number of students passing; and more.
"This is further indication that La Porte High School and its student body, faculty, and leadership are performing at the highest level in the district's history," said Lloyd W. Graham, LPISD superintendent.
District officials point to a number of factors contributing to the school's success, including the support of parents and community members. For the past three years, LPISD has had an aligned and articulated curriculum and has implemented a process that makes use of data that takes students' past history of performance on TAKS testing and predicts their success on future tests. This data also is used to identify learning gaps and implement individualized strategies for working with students.
In addition, the Stanford 10 national norm-referenced testing has been administered at grades 9 and 10 to determine how LPHS students compare with their peers across the nation, and the PSAT has been administered to every ninth, 10th and 11th grader so that this data can be used to help prepare students for college.
Teachers and administrators are focused in their efforts to know the students and recognize their strengths and areas of need. According to principal Joanne Kolius, the high school faculty and staff take an individualized approach to making sure each student grows academically, with teachers regularly conferencing with students to let them know what they can do and what their areas of need are. T
eachers understand the importance of data and talking with one another about the data in an effort to effectively impact learning. In addition, LPHS uses targeted intervention to meet students' needs and differentiated instruction to make those interventions successful.
"The teachers and administrators at La Porte High School are purposeful in their efforts to know the students and know where they are regarding their strengths and weaknesses," said Linda Wadleigh, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "With that level of communication and knowledge, meaningful decisions can be made about how to most effectively impact learning."
College and career readiness is a serious and important goal at LPHS, where teachers and administrator work diligently to keep students in school, help them graduate and make certain that they are prepared for life after high school.
"In addition, professional learning opportunities provide meaningful discussion on how to plan and improve instruction, which raises the bar for staff as a whole," added David Knowles, executive director for secondary education.
LPHS has also expanded its Advanced Placement program by including more students and increasing performance on the AP exams; in fact, LPISD was one of 388 districts in the nation recently named to the National AP Achievement List.