Houston Elementary Principal Kyle Uber made good on a promise to allow students to help shave his head in celebration of their State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness results Friday morning. Uber made the promise during the end of the previous school year in the hopes of motivating students and making STAAR fun.
“I made a promise to my third and fourth graders at the end of last year basically trying to get their very best on the STAAR testing day,” Uber said. “You want to get the best out of everybody and that’s really all we’re after, is just for them to give their very best. I told them that if they were able to do that, then I would shave my head for them.”
The Denison Independent School District school improved its STAAR scores from the previous year in all assessments. Scores for student achievement rose from a 64 in the 2015-2016 school year to a 70 for the 2016-2017 school year. Student progress scores increased from 21 to 34, closing performance gaps improved from 33 to 39 and post-secondary readiness increased from 25 to 35. Uber explained that after receiving the scores, he could tell significant growth had occurred.
“I could tell that they put forth a great effort so that’s what we did this morning,” Uber said. “We had to kind of record it so we could show our now fifth graders.”
Pictures and videos recorded the event and were shared with the fifth graders at their new school so they could be a part of the celebration. Third grade is the first year for students to take the STAAR test and Uber said this causes them anxiety.
“The test puts a lot of pressure on everybody,” Uber said. “I know those students stress about it. We try our best to give them that comfort leading up to it. To just assure them that they’re ready and prepared. We tell them there’s nothing to worry about. We just want the best from them.”
Uber believes that the incentive may have helped students have fun and relieve some stress before the test.
“I think it probably helped,” Uber said. “I told them when we finished up today that there wouldn’t be anything better than to start every year like this. It would be worth it to me.”
Uber said Denison ISD is trying to prepare students not only to do well in school but also in life.
“We understand that accountability is important,” Uber said. “So we try to take it as seriously as we can but at the same time make it fun for everybody. Everybody is at a different point but if we can show progress over the course of the school year, it’s going to help them and prepare them, not only for school, but also life outside of school by meeting those challenges that they encounter.”