From the desk of Dr. Kirk Lewis

Updates from the Superintendent


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The SAT Story

Much has been said in the media recently about the national decline in SAT scores and the increased number of students taking the exam, speaking as if the decline in scores is proof that the educational system is failing America’s young people. It is a complex issue.

A research project completed by SAS, a North Carolina statistics company, showed numerically what we feel intuitively.  As more “B” and “C” students take the test, one would expect overall scores to drop. The SAS study showed when participation rates increase by 20% the average score drops 58 points.  If true, Pasadena ISD beats the trend. Since 2009, the district’s participation rate increased 51%, with 1,393 students taking the SAT last year. Based on the study, our SAT scores should drop 142 points over that time period. Instead, the district SAT average dropped just 27 points.

It’s a positive statistical development. We find the best news in the increasing number of Pasadena ISD students taking the test and giving college a try, many of whom are the first in their families to enroll in college.

We are not content with the score. We have work to do, but we are greatly encouraged by our students.

Comparison SAT Scores Number of Test Takers PISD


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Parents as Partners

Our society experienced a rise in single parent households, an increase in the number of homes in which both parents must work, and a growing population of parents with English language barriers over the past 25 years. Life is different from what most of us knew as children, but parents still love their kids. Even though the culture changed, parents still want to play a meaningful role in their child’s education and desire significant interactions with the schools their children attend.

A Strategic Plan update this week outlined the many parent activities hosted throughout the district. Pasadena ISD’s 62 schools hosted 2,856 distinct parent programs in 2011-12 involving an aggregate of 185,997 parents. Schools offered student-led programs, parent orientation meetings, Family Literacy Nights, parenting classes, ESL classes, Books & Breakfast, computer training, citizenship classes, Helping Your Child with Homework workshops, Anti-Bullying programs, booster clubs and a variety of other types of programs designed to connect our parents with our schools.

Schools can be an intimidating place for many of our parents. We hope that these programs emphasize our commitment to strengthening these critical relationships.

Thanks, Parents, for being so involved in your child’s education.


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9/11 Thoughts

September 11 will never pass without reflecting on the horror and the heroism manifested that day. There were many conversations this week in classrooms across our district about all those amazing attributes that define us as Americans. Patriotism still burns brightly in the hearts of our young people. Since 9/11, enrollment in our JROTC programs is at an all-time high. We have the Marines at Pasadena, the Army at Rayburn, the Navy at South Houston and Air Force at Dobie. Each has won awards over the years and the ARMY JROTC at Rayburn is one of the top programs in the state and nation. I am thrilled each year at the number of graduates who voluntarily serve our country by entering the military. 

Our JROTC students are great campus leaders and wonderful representatives of our entire student body. They make us proud every day. It’s great to be an American!


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NCLB Waiver

The federal No Child Left Behind Act established a lofty, but unrealistic goal of having 100% of all students in the nation passing every state-mandated test by 2014. While both political parties talk about rewriting the law, we’ve seen no substantive discussion to date. Last year, the federal government granted a waiver of key NCLB provisions to any state that asked for it, releasing those states from NCLB’s more burdensome provisions. Until this week, Texas was one of three states opting not to seek the waiver.

This week, the Texas Education Agency finally applied for a general waiver of certain NCLB provisions, contending that Texas’ accountability and assessment systems surpass the requirements of the NCLB statute. Let’s hope the waiver is granted. Otherwise, the cost of complying with NCLB will continue to divert critical local funds and create more teacher stress in Pasadena ISD and all other Texas districts.