I’m writing in response to the guest column by Norman Pappous (“O’Neal’s column revealed several serious issues,” The Daily News, Sept. 30) and the guest column by Cindi Lyons (“Matthew Hay should not misrepresent facts,” The Daily News, Oct. 4): Galveston Independent School District is doing well and already excels.

The past three consecutive years, The Daily News reported and proclaimed Galveston’s Ball High School the best high school in Galveston County. Ball High School was among the first in Texas to implement four college and career learning communities (STEM, Biomedical, Media Arts & Digital Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship), first in Texas to implement a nationally renowned IncubaTOR program, World Robotics Champions, first to have TV programming and K-TOR 24-hour radio station, maintains a 95 percent graduation rate and has improved its sports stadium and facilities.

All middle schools have met standards, improved and excelled. Austin Middle School is a National Blue-Ribbon School; Central — accountability distinctions for student progress for 2017; and Collegiate Academy — National Demonstration School for Magnet Schools.

Elementary schools are improving and earning distinctions. Burnet — two distinctions; Crenshaw — two distinctions; Parker — Region IV Principal of the Year; L.A. Morgan — four distinctions; and Oppe — five distinctions.

For several years, Texas had only 41 percent (recently changed to 45 percent) of third graders reading at grade level. GISD had the same percentage — but has already implemented programs to surpass the state average. GISD is improving this situation — and will succeed. Regardless of the low reading percentage in the third grade reading, GISD has gotten those “same students” to “succeed” in the middle schools and high school as aforementioned.

The issue of low reading scores has nothing to do with intellect but everything to do with exposure. A child not exposed to constant reading from birth to 5 years old will be slightly behind. The Moody Foundation understands that and has implemented the Moody Early Childhood Center, which targets early educational exposure to babies that normally would not have that early educational arena.

Over the past four years, the visionary GISD has put great educational programs in place. Currently, GISD is one of eight school districts of over 1,200 in the state to be part of the “System of Great Schools Network.” This means that people of Texas and the nation recognize the great job GISD is doing. These past four years, Matthew Hay has been president of the board of trustees.

Yet, Norman Pappous is quoted, “But the district’s leadership failings …” and “District administration, teachers and staff say they believe approaching district leadership could threaten their livelihood.” Logical people should find it hard to believe that district administrators, teachers and staff that are doing an outstanding job would be in fear of their livelihood.

Some say Pappous made statements out of context or were completely false. But most say that he and Lyons are misinformed and ill-advised. Again, it appears, Pappous is upset because the school district is doing well. The “revealed several serious issues” are proved to be several false statements by Pappous. So, make sure that the truth is being told when speaking of GISD.

David O’Neal Jr. is the District 2-B trustee of the Galveston Independent School District.


(1) comment

Jose' Boix

The opinion column by Mr. David O'Neal, Jr. serves to summarize, and hopefully highlight, the difficulties inherent in trying to effectively evaluate our schools and districts. It is obvious that posted achievements are stellar in many areas of the education process. The problem in my opinion, is that we do not have a consistent, well defined and measurable set of agreed key indicator parameters (KIPs) that can be tracked and compared. To do an effective evaluation, these KIPs (normally 5-7) must be agreed and set early so to prevent doing possibly "selected picking." Such is the effective process or model often referred to as the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) pioneered by W. Edwards Deming. In my opinion, this is the most effective way to really define a successful education program. To date the only official reports to enable evaluations of schools and districts is via the Texas Education Agency (TEA) School Report Cards (SRC); combining accountability rating and data from the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR).

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