School district getting good results

December 4, 2008 4:23:51 AM PST
The Galena Park Independent School District is in the spotlight for the good job it is doing in the classroom. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It is a minority majority school district where most of the students come from low-income homes. Similar districts have high dropout rates, but Galena Park ISD is doing things differently and getting good results.

If the teachers look a little young to be in a classroom sometimes, don't worry you're not getting old. They're actually visiting college students.

"Twice a week we have actual college students that come in and tutor the students," said teacher Felicia Oliver.

Through the tutoring, North Shore students get extra practice on core subjects and valuable time with a mentor.

"It's beneficial to see someone who wasn't here too long, that was right in this classroom saying utilize everything you are learning now, "said Oliver. "Take notes, write notes, study your notes and review and you can be where I am now."

The AVID Program is just one of several winning strategies at Galena Park ISD. Recently the district met national AYP Standards and was named Recognized, something only one other large district in Texas achieved.

"We're the only high poverty school to achieve that," said Dr. Mark Henry of Galena Park ISD.

"They help when I ask stuff and they help me and we always talk about college," said student Mary Alexander.

Students also appreciate the energy the district's dedicated teachers bring to the classroom.

"You get to interact with children," said teacher Ryan Henry. "You get to make a difference in their lives every day. You just get to help build the future."

A future that seems increasingly brighter for students as Galena Park sets a higher standard.

The district is getting attention from other educators. Mississippi's Commissioner of Education visited Galena Park. He hopes to bring back some of the lessons he learned to his own state.

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