Thursday, May 21, 2009

Year One of Our School Adoption

This morning, I had the honor of serving as the guest speaker at McNamara Elementary School's fourth grade graduation ceremony. Tomorrow, I will get to speak at the fifth grade ceremony, also. This is the first year McNamara has held two graduations. Next year, McNamara will be a pre-K through 4th grade campus. The current 4th and 5th graders will both be headed to the new Sugar Grove Academy, a 5th and 6th grade campus.

I had a great time, as I always do when I visit McNamara. Our first year adopting this school has been incredibly rewarding. I have been SO very proud of our people for rising to this new challenge. So many of you have volunteered in ways big and small. Last Friday, McNamara held its volunteer appreciation event, and those of us who attended were blessed beyond telling. If you were not able to come, please drop by the office and pick up a free gift from the staff at McNamara.

But here's the BIG news: Today Mrs. Chenier announced the preliminary TAKS scores. TAKS is the standardized test by which the state measures a school's effectiveness. These scores have a tremendous impact on school enrollment--parents will find a way NOT to send their kids to the neighborhood school if it's not doing well--and enrollment determines funding. So the TAKS is a big deal. Using TAKS scores, schools are graded on the following scale:

Unacceptable, Acceptable, Recognized, Exemplary.

A couple of years ago, McNamara was declared unacceptable. How about this year? I'll let Mrs. Chenier's email speak for itself:

"Pastor Berger,

I want to share some good news with you. McNamara’s preliminary TAKS scores (percentages of students passing) are as follows:

TAKS Reading – 80%
TAKS Math – 81%
TAKS Science – 89%
TAKS Writing – 93%
"This gives us a preliminary rating of ‘Recognized’ for next year. We are so excited and thank
God is faithful."

He is indeed! Now, let's be honest: Mrs. Chenier and her faculty had McNamara on the upswing before we got involved. But isn't it great to see that our ministry there has already had such a positive impact! What an amazing answer to prayer, and confirmation that we're doing the right thing! Please do me a favor: Write a card of encouragement and congratulations to Mrs. Chenier and her staff this week. Let her know you're from WBC. Here's the address:

McNamara Elementary
8714 McAvoy
Houston, TX 77074

One more thing: I met the principal of Sugar Grove Academy today at the graduation ceremony. He said, "If you think your church is up to it, I'll be in touch with you about partnering with us next year." Hmmm...could God be up to something bigger than we anticipated here?

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