POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:04pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:05pm
EL PASO (KTSM) — Students may still be enjoying their summer vacation, but about 200 teachers are busy in the classrooms learning and preparing before the schools starts.
Teachers played the role of students today at the National Math and Science Initiative teacher training at El Paso High School. About 210 local teachers took notes, asked questions and conducted different hands on activities in hopes of raising the passing rate for the STAAR exams this year.
"Its four days of teaching strategy, increasing rigor in the classroom and also assisting teachers with difficult topics related to the star test," said Adria McCauley, Special Projects Coordinator for the N.M.S.I.
Only 54 percent of all ninth graders passed the writing portion of the test this past year and according to one instructor this training is aimed at bettering students' scores.
"I think this will definitely help with the STAAR test,” said Laura Widner, training instructor for N.M.S.I. “I've taught it for eight years now using the NMSI strategy in my class room and it works wonders. It helps increase the rigor in the classroom and we see the significance in the state assessments."
Students are performing better in the math and science portions of the test. More than 80 percent of students passed the math section and 88 percent passed science.
Even though those scores are better compared to the passing rate of the English portion, this training will still help college bound students.
"What we are doing is we are actually training for the advanced placement exams for students’ senior years so they can earn college credit," said Raul Padilla, training instructor for N.M.S.I.
According to McCauley, this training will not only help with test scores but also create a network among teachers across the state.
"If someone in the Ysleta ISD they know that someone from say Dallas ISD or Houston ISD anywhere in the state of Texas who might have come to other NMSI's training, they have received that training on those things as well so it builds a network of teachers," said McCauley.