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News, opinion and topics of interest to parents, students, and taxpayers within the Lewisville Independent School District
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102 student authors honored at Donald Elementary School

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/5/7 13:25:50 (1527 reads)

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Polly Holyoke, author of “The Neptune Project” and other books who was the speaker for the Author's Tea at Donald Elementary School in Flower Mound Thursday morning, posed with Malorie Summers, one of 102 student authors who were honored at the event in the school cafeteria. Holyoke autographed each of the student authors' books, with a comment. (Photo by Dan Eakin)

By DAN EAKIN
dan@LewisvilleTexan.com

Problably no other elementary school anywhere could say that they have 102 student authors whose work has been published.

For the past 18 years or so, Donald Elementary School, where students are known as the Donald Dolphins, has had a program titled “Dolphin Tales,” in which the students write books which are actually bound and published.

Each child who participates in the program writes his or her own book, on any subject they choose. At the end of the year, the authors of the books are recognized at a program called Author's Tea, and all students who write a book receive a certificate. Some special awards are passed out at the end of the annual program.

On Thursday morning, the school auditorium was packed with students, parents, and volunteers in the Dolphin Tales program for the annual Author's Tea.

Polly Holyoke, author of “The Neptune Project” and other books, was the guest speaker for the student publication program.

Holyoke said it was so fitting for her to come to Donald Elementary to speak to the Dolphins, because “The Neptune Project” is about a girl who feels more comfortable swimming with dolphins than she does hanging out with her classmates, and about a group of kids who have been genetically altered to be able to survive in the ocean.

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City Council passes resolution defending and supporting Lewisville ISD’s STAAR fight

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/5/3 4:30:00 (1670 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowBy STEVE SOUTHWELL

The Lewisville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night supporting the Lewisville Independent School District, in its efforts to get reimbursed for expenses to re-score incorrectly scored STAAR tests.

As The Lewisville Texan Journal previously reported, the district discovered discrepancies when it received results of the December 2015 STAAR end-of-course exams in English I and II— two of the five EOC exams that students have to pass in order to graduate high school.


Numerous students were found to have been scored with zeroes in the short-answer portion of the test, even though they had high scores on essay questions. When 160 exams were sent back for re-scoring at the district’s expense, 20 percent of them came back with improved grades.

The school board approved up to $48,250 to pay for rescoring of more exams, but the district contends that because the scores were not reliable, that the state or ETS, the scoring contractor, should pay for the rescoring. A letter from TEA to the district late last week denied relief for the district.


Lewisville Councilman TJ Gilmore requested that the resolution be added to the agenda Monday night.

“The testing regime and the failure to effectively fund our public schools both continue to damage communities,” said Gilmore.

“Unless we stand up and support schools as a city, the Legislature may continue to think this is just a schools problem. It's not. it's a community problem.”

LISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Brockman and school board member Kronda Thimesch both spoke to the council in favor of the resolution.

“We appreciate your support and value Lewisville as a trusted partner,” said Brockman.

Thimesch also provided LTJ with this remark:

"LISD is like the canary in the tunnel. We are the first out of a handful of districts who tests earlier because of our accelerated block. We appreciate this resolution on behalf of our LISD students because there may very well be districts across the state in the same predicament after they get their results. Having the Lewisville City Council partner with us makes a difference for our community."

STAAR critics have expressed concern that what happened to LISD might be an early indicator of a problem that could be widespread later this year when spring results are announced.

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Video: Lewisville ISD candidates use forum to talk about issues, qualifications

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/28 4:40:00 (2234 reads)

Open in new windowDespite three days of early voting already having been crossed off the calendar, all five of the Lewisville ISD board candidates showed up Wednesday night for a candidate forum hosted at LISD’s Bolin Center in Lewisville. The forum, a little over an hour long, was co-hosted by The Lewisville Texan Journal, and the Cross Timbers Gazette.

Bob Weir and Patrick Kelly served as moderators for the Gazette and the Journal respectively. Lewisville ISD graciously allowed for the use of the room and provided audio and video assistance. Trustee Tracy Scott Miller served as timekeeper.

Between 50 and 75 people attended live, and the forum was video-recorded.

Candidates were each given two minutes to introduce themselves; then the moderators took turns asking questions. Each candidate had a minute to answer each question. At the end, each candidate had two minutes for a closing statement.



Candidates for Place 4 are Fairooz Adams and Katherine Sells. Candidates for Place 5 are Will Ferson, Jenny Proznik, and Allison Lassahn.

The Lewisville Texan Journal thanks all of the candidates, Lewisville ISD, the Cross Timbers Gazette, Patrick Kelly, Bob Weir, and Tracy Scott Miller for their assistance.

Related links:
- Early voting under way

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Journal, Gazette team up for LISD candidate forum Wednesday, Apr. 27

Lewisville ISD Notes
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2016/4/22 22:10:00 (5184 reads)

Open in new windowThe Lewisville Texan Journal and The Cross Timbers Gazette will co-host a Lewisville ISD school board candidate forum on Wednesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. The forum will be held at LISD’s Bolin Administration Center, 1565 W. Main St. in Lewisville.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Candidates in the two contested races will each be given two minutes to introduce themselves. Moderators Bob Weir and Patrick Kelly will ask questions posed by both newspapers for about one hour. Candidates will then have two minutes each for a closing statement.

Video of the forum will be posted online by Thursday on both the Cross Timbers Gazette and Lewisville Texan Journal websites.

Early voting in the May 7, Lewisville ISD school board election begins Monday and continues through May 3. LISD Place 4 candidates are Fairooz Adams and Katherine Sells. Place 5 candidates are Will Ferson, Allison Lassahn, and Jenny Proznik. Angie Cox is running unopposed in Place 3.

Trustees serve three-year terms without pay, and meet monthly to discuss and vote on issues of district strategy, policy, and budget.

To suggest questions for the candidates, you may email steve@LewisvilleTexan.com by Tuesday.

For more information on early voting, candidates, and polling locations...

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Updated: STAAR exam vendor fails LISD students

Lewisville ISD Notes
 Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/4/18 23:10:00 (117543 reads)

Updated - See at bottom for an update from the board of trustees meeting Monday night.

Open in new windowThe state’s testing vendor mis-scored 20 percent of English exams selected by the district for rescoring, and mistakes could cost LISD up to $51,475.

By STEVE SOUTHWELL

High school students in Texas must pass five required STAAR end-of-course exams in order to graduate. Not only are the standardized tests high-stakes for the kids, but they drive school ratings. For English I and II, those exams include multiple-choice and short-answer questions, and essays. The district believes incorrect scoring is responsible for some students failing the exams that were administered in December.

It was the scores on the short-answer portion of the tests that got the attention of Lewisville ISD administrators. According to a memo included with the LISD Board of Trustees meeting packet, the district became concerned when scores were received back from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the state’s new vendor for grading the tests. There was a significant increase in scores of zero on the short-answer portion.

In an April 13 letter from LISD Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers to Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, Rogers said that 76 students who took the English I exam got a zero on the short answer section, yet scored 6, 7, or 8 on the composition section. The same was true for 72 students in English II.

Rogers wrote that 17 percent of the English I test-takers received a score of zero on short-answer when taking the test for the first time. That number rose to 47 percent for repeat test-takers.

The district reported its concerns to TEA, and received an unsatisfactory response, according to Rogers’ letter. “...Their response did nothing to alleviate our level of uneasiness with the reported scores,” wrote Rogers.

“In short, we were told the questions were difficult, and that the scores were accurate. This response was unsatisfactory to us, so the district made the decision to pay a fee to request rescoring of more than 150 documents.”

Administrators picked a set of 162 student tests where the short-answer score was significantly different from the essay score, and requested that ETS rescore them.

ETS charges $25 per test for re-scoring, but waives that fee only if the test score changes.

Of the 77 English I tests submitted for rescoring, 10 grades were changed. Fully 13 percent of the exams chosen for rescoring in English I had grading errors.

It gets worse.

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