SAN ANTONIO – When it comes to school, 17-year-old Madison Sligh said starting over is nothing new.
“My mom has been in the military before I was born. She is a chief in the Air Force,” Sligh said.
Sligh is a senior at Stacey Jr./Sr. High School at Joint Base-San Antonio Lackland.
“Moving every three to five years isn’t easy for anyone to deal with,” Sligh said.
Students who attend Lackland Independent School District are mostly children of military personnel who live on base.
Amy Mendez is a teacher in the district and can relate to her students.
“As a previous military dependent, my father served 20 years in the Army. I make a personal connection with my students,” Mendez said.
Sligh said Stacey Jr./Sr. High School is different from others she’s attended.
“I like the school a lot because we have smaller class sizes, and you can really know your teachers and they can really help you out,” Sligh said.
Lackland ISD Superintendent Burnie Roper said building relationships with students and the smaller classrooms play an important role in the district's success.
“We are blessed to have smaller classes than the usual. So if we have a teacher with a classroom of 15, we are able to handle the individual needs of students who say if they are having trouble in specific areas,” Roper said.
The district has two schools, pre-K through fifth grade and sixth through 12th grade, with about 1,073 students and 198 staff members.
“I would echo what I heard other people saying in terms of the size really fostering personal relationships amongst the staff and the faculty and also with the students,” said James Staples, a teacher.
While Lackland ISD received an A in the Texas Education Agency’s State Accountability ratings, Roper said the grading system doesn’t paint the entire picture.
“We are happy that we got that accountability rating, but a lot of the accountability is based off what happens during a week of testing. So it doesn’t show a true picture of what is happening in schools,” Roper said. “You have kids that may be talented in the classroom, and do a really good job, we also have talented students that play in the band.”
And while the TEA grade does reflect the hard work of teachers and students, there is always room to improve.
“There are some areas in special education that we have been struggling with, honestly, over the years, trying to meet the needs to special education students,” Roper said. “Those students have what you call an individual education plan, so there are certain goals in those plans that have to be met. Sometimes it's difficult trying to figure out how to meet the needs of those kids.”
The school districts are graded in student achievement, school progress and closing the gap.