Feb 27, 2020 by

Transformation Waco

“Transformation Waco Should Have Been Teaching Children How To Read Rather Than Pushing Leftist Lies”

On 7.24.19, I published my article about Transformation Waco’s summer “reading” program:  “Public Outrage — Little Children As Young as 11 Being Indoctrinated in Waco, Texas” — By Donna Garner – –

Instead of using the summer to teach their students how to read proficiently, Transformation Waco chose to spend that time indoctrinating children into the acceptance of the LGBTQ lifestyle, glorifying transgender cross-dressing, elevating the status of Planned Parenthood, and following the social justice agenda from the Southern Poverty Law Center — a hate group with ties to Antifa.  



A new reading initiative is coming to all Texas public schools; and that initiative will be centered around direct, systematic instruction of phonemic awareness/phonics.  The Texas State Board of Education has adopted new English / Language Arts / Reading curriculum standards (TEKS).  The K-8 ELAR/TEKS will be implemented in Sept. 2019; Grades 9 – 12 will be implemented in Sept. 2020.  Because our Texas public schools have not been teaching students to read through phonemic awareness/phonics, our STAAR test scores in reading indicate that a huge percentage of students do not read well. 

Why not have a summer literacy program that actually teaches children how to read by using the empirical, scientific, reading research to help them develop automaticity, fluency, and comprehension?  Why not have people in Texas (not outsiders from the Children’s Defense Fund) to design exciting and fun reading activities that are based upon the ELAR/TEKS and that will help these children to experience great success on their STAAR tests?  This would be much better than trying to force little children to delve into topics that most adults would find challenging.  Why not help students learn lifelong reading skills that can lift them out of poverty and onto the road to success in all of their other school subjects? Think how much better this would be than to try to turn young children into leftwing activists. Children are not meant to be “little adults.”


2.26.20 – Waco Tribune-Herald

“Transformation Waco principals push to boost attendance, bring students up to grade level as STAAR approaches”

  • By Brooke Crum

Excerpts from this article: 

With challenges like high teacher turnover and new leadership, Transformation Waco school principals are working to help students perform better academically this school year and score higher on state standardized exams, a year after two of the five schools in the in-district charter system failed state academic accountability ratings.

During a board meeting Tuesday, all five principals described efforts to meet the targeted attendance rate of 97%, struggles with students learning on grade level and ways they are helping teachers remain confident and creative. This is the first year the Transformation Waco board requested principals deliver progress reports, after providing goal-oriented plans at the beginning of the school year.

This is part of the Transformation zone’s purpose, established in 2018 in a three-year contract with the Waco Independent School District, to improve the five schools’ overall state academic ratings and prevent their closure after the schools failed state ratings for five consecutive years. All five schools have been removed from the state’s failing schools list, but two schools received a failing rating last school year.

Transformation Waco schools received additional funding to improve student outcomes, and schools rated as failing that join a partnership like Transformation Waco’s are eligible to receive a two-year reprieve from state penalties, which can include closure or replacement of the district’s school board.

The five schools in the charter system are Alta Vista Elementary School, Brook Avenue Elementary School, J.H. Hines Elementary School, G.W. Carver Middle School and Indian Spring Middle School. J.H. Hines and G.W. Carver received F’s for their 2018-19 state accountability ratings, which are largely based on state standardized exams scores. The other three schools — Alta Vista, Brook Avenue and Indian Spring — received C’s.

…Board member Mary Bonner-Fisher said she was glad to hear Barefield is working to improve the new teachers’ confidence and skills by providing them with support and exposure to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, which students take in spring.

…The only school to meet the attendance rate target of 97% for the fall semester was Brook Avenue, while the other four schools hovered just below that line at 95% to 96%. Waco ISD’s elementary school attendance rate for the fall semester was 95.9%.

The principals said they are working to incentivize attendance by talking to both students and parents about the importance of going to school every day. Helton, the Alta Vista principal, said the school’s attendance team meets weekly with students to discuss absences and assigns staff members to follow up with their families each week. She and other administrators also pick up students who have transportation obstacles.

Meanwhile, Indian Spring surpassed goals for growing students’ math and reading skills, the only Transformation Waco school to meet the charter’s internal goals on both measures. Brook Avenue and G.W. Carver both met the growth goal for math skills, while narrowly missing the reading skills growth measure. Alta Vista came close to meeting both goals, while J.H. Hines saw significantly less growth than the other four schools.

Brook Avenue Principal Julie Sapaugh said the reason for that gap between students’ growth in math and reading is that it is easier and takes less time to grow students’ math skills than reading skills. To help students, the school hired two retired teachers as part-time tutors.

“Math is something you can grow quicker because it’s skill-specific,” Sapaugh said. “Reading really starts in those lower grades, and when you have students in third, fourth and fifth grade who have been on a low-performing campus for as many as years as they have, it’s harder to catch up all those skills. In third grade, teachers are trying to teach how to attack a STAAR passage and how to read those. If that third grader can’t read by the time they get to third grade, they’re not going to be able to take that step further.”

But some teachers may not know how to teach the skills for lower level readers, so the school is providing in-school interventions for the students struggling to read on grade level, Sapaugh said.

Helton said after-school tutoring for reading and math started in January, and now teachers are encouraging students to sign up for the annual Spring Break Academy, which provides students with a week of instruction aiming at improving their state standardized test scores. All five principals said they are close to meeting their goal of getting 100 students from each school signed up for the academy.

The struggle now is moving students who would be graded on state standardized exams as “approaches grade level” to “meets grade level” and “masters grade level,” Helton said

…The Spring Break Academy will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 9-13. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and students will be assigned to a reading or math teacher or both. On March 13, the students will take a field trip to Austin, Dallas or Houston that will include a fun, educational activity that has yet to be decided.

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