GPISD responds to newspaper article
By Staci Stanfield, director of communications
........In the November 26 issue of the Greater Houston Weekly newspaper, which is delivered with the Sentinel, a reporter wrote a story titled, How does your neighborhood rate? The article ranked various cities/communities on a scale from one to 10 in various categories including school achievement, violent crime, cost of living, air quality and unemployment. Under school achievement “ Galena Park” received a 1.5 out of a possible 10. This was shocking news to our employees and our community. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), GPISD is the largest Exemplary district in Texas. Therefore, we immediately began researching the article.
........We discovered the information was gathered from MSN’s housing and home web site, which was designed to assist people who are relocating. Most of the content was take from the 1990 and 2000 census and was based only on data specifically related to the City of Galena Park. Unfortunately, the article failed to mention that the other communities in our district were excluded from the survey. Nor did it mention that GPISD ranks number one in educating African American students and number three in educating Latino students in districts larger than 15,000.
........The article also failed to explain that “school achievement” included school ratings, student expenditures, high school graduate statistics, and student/teacher ratios from 2000. The district has experienced a great deal of change in each category in three years.
........In 2000, the TEA rated Galena Park and MacArthur Elementary Schools, and Galena Park Middle as Recognized schools. Galena Park High was rated Acceptable. In 2003, Galena Park Elementary,Galena Park Middle and Galena Park High earned Recognized ratings and MacArthur Elementary earned an Exemplary rating.
........Student expenditures have changed as well. In 2000, GPISD spent $4,950 per student and in 2003 the district increased the amount spent on each student to $7,080.
........The number of students completing high school has also changed. In 2000, only 60.37% of our high school students attended the 9 th through 12 th grades at GPHS. By 2003, 88.4% of the students attended all four years of high school at GPHS.
........Our student/teacher ratios have changed as well. Three years ago our student/teacher ratio was 17.1 students to one classroom teacher. Our current student/teacher ratio has improved to 14.5 to one.
........While the City of Galena Park is an essential community to our district, GPISD is comprised of a variety of communities. It is difficult to isolate one particular community without looking at the accomplishments of all 24 schools in GPISD. If any agency, organization, media outlet or web site chooses to isolate one particular area to conduct research, it is important for that entity to use current statistical information. Unfortunately, the reporter, editor and publisher of the Greater Houston Weekly did not thoroughly research their resources.
........We are proud of our accomplishments and our schools in the City of Galena Park. We have worked hard to achieve academic success district wide and we are proud to be the largest Exemplary district in Texas. The list of accolades goes on and on, but most importantly, we could not achieve success without your support. We are continually working to create an environment in which ALL children feel safe, accepted and excited about learning. We thank you, our community, for choosing to live and work in Galena Park ISD.