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Spurger ISD discusses annual TEA report card; honors newest graduate

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By Andrea Whitney
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SPURGER – The Spurger ISD Board of Trustees met Thursday, Feb. 13 to discuss the district’s performance on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) annual school report card for the 2018-19 school year. Spurger ISD received two TEA report cards; one for grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and another for grades 6-12.

State accountability ratings are determined by three domains: (1) student achievement (2) school progress and (3) closing the gaps. Scores are scaled from 0 to 100 to align with the letter grades.

Spurger High School had an overall score of a 68, which equates to a ‘D’. The campus scored a 72 which equates to a ‘C’ in student achievement, a 70 in the school progress which equates to a ‘C’ and a 60 which equates to a ‘D’ in closing the gaps.

Spurger Elementary School, which hosts grades pre-kindergarten through 6 did not do well on the report card, scoring an ‘F’ overall. The campus’ overall numerical score was a 49. The campus scored a 55 which equates to a ‘F’ in student achievement, a 57 which equates to an ‘F’ in school progress and a 30 which equates to an ‘F’ in closing the gaps.

Superintendent Morgan Wright did acknowledge that grade four seemed to be struggling the most at the time of the testing. Data gathered thus far in the 2019-20 school year have already showed improvement in the three domains.

Spurger ISD board members, along with Wright, are currently putting together a program to help the campus and its students see more success in the future. Details of that program were not available at the meeting, but the Tyler County Booster will follow-up in the coming weeks.

As dim as the first part of the meeting seemed, a shining star emerged with recent graduate Randy Touche.

Touche reached out to the several schools in the area, asking for help in obtaining his high school diploma. He was turned down time after time until contacting Spurger High School. There he was put in contact with Miller who agreed to tutor and mentor Touche to help his gain his diploma.

Touche has been in foster care and group homes since he was four years old. Despite being shuffled from family to family and home to home, he never lost the desire to one day graduate high school. Touche could have earned a GED, but opted for the real deal – he wanted to graduate high school with a true diploma.

“All he wanted was his diploma,” Miller said. “He was asking for help and there was no way I was going to not help this child graduate. So many times, we see children who do not want to apply the effort, but Randy was the exact opposite. He dove into every assignment we put in front of him.”

Miller enrolled Touche in the district’s credit recovery program. He woke up each morning and drove himself to school for hours of instruction and then went to work at his full-time job.

“He showed up early every day. It was fast and furious, but we worked through it,” Miller said.

Touche completed the credit recovery program and earned the diploma he had sought for so long.

Miller knew what a special time this was for Touche and organized a small ceremony in his honor. She got a cap and gown for her student and after he was presented his diploma, a small reception was held.

“I did it! I really did it!” Touche said at the meeting, holding back tears. “I never thought I would make it, but I did!”

After being congratulated by board members and Superintendent Wright, Miller closed by saying something that all in attendance were in agreement with, “the world needs more Randys.”

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