Brownwood High School has been selected as one of 10 schools to take part in a research study by the Association of Texas Professional Educators after being identified as one of the highest-performing campuses in Texas.
“This is the nicest honor in my tenure at Brownwood High School,” Principal Bill Faircloth told campus department heads at a meeting with Superintendent Reece Blincoe Monday morning.
“Brownwood High was selected because of the gains in test scores students have achieved in the last five years,” Blincoe said. “It was also selected because it is a diverse school, it is not an advantaged school. This is not a rich community. We are a very good middle-class community.”
A letter received from Dr. Ed Fuller, a University of Texas professor who is the principal investigator for the ATPE’s Study of High-Performing Schools in Texas, states that the research is being done to highlight the best practices of top schools across the state.
“Specifically, the research study focuses on schools with exceptional growth on the TAKS test from 2002-2003 through 2006-2007,” Fuller wrote in a letter to Faircloth. “Your campus has been identified as one of the schools with the highest growth after controlling for student background characteristics, student enrollment, TAKS participation and the percentage of all students passing all TAKS tests in 2002-2003.”
Blincoe said he learned of the selection of Brownwood High while working on a separate project with Fuller, who is assisting Blincoe with data analysis for his own doctoral dissertation. The letter to Faircloth arrived almost simultaneously.
“We would like to interview you and your staff about your perceptions on why your TAKS passing rate has increased so substantially over the past five years,” the ATPE letter said.
“Fuller is probably the best in the state in quantitative analysis,” Blincoe said. “He is frequently called upon for expert testimony by the Texas Legislature on different aspects of education.”
Blincoe emphasized the significance of the honor in remarks to high school department heads.
“This very much is an honor,” Blincoe said. “They picked you because you’re doing great things in a diverse school.” He said he was aware of another high-performing school that was not picked for the study because its population was economically advantaged.
“From what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned, there’s a lot of good things being done at Brownwood High,” Blincoe said.
“I think a lot of people are of the mindset that they think of Northwest, Woodland Heights and East when they hear of such honors. But it’s happening at other campuses too. We’ve got students participating in extracurricular activities keeping them involved, and that’s important, but these gains came in the academic areas. This is awesome.”
Faircloth urged the department heads to convey the administration’s appreciate to each teacher.
“It all starts with you, and with the teachers, and in the classroom,” Faircloth said. “It starts in every department. We may the ones with our picture in the paper, but it doesn’t happen without the teachers. These are the people who make my job easy.”