Parkhill Junior High School received all seven possible recognitions from the state for 2019.

The campus in the northwest corner of Richardson ISD is one of just 127 schools across Texas to attain all possible distinctions, which are for achievement based on performance relative to a group of campuses of similar type, size, grade span, and student demographics. Parkhill received an overall accountability grade of 91 for 2019 from the Texas Education Agency.

Parkhill was recognized for academic achievement in English Language Arts/Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Top 25 Percent: Academic Growth, Top 25 Percent; Closing the Gap and Post-secondary Readiness.

A middle school campus earns a designation if it is in the top quartile of its comparison group for at least 50% of the indicators used to award the distinction, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Parkhill Principal Farrah Smock encourages all her students to be involved in at least one activity because being connected to school is an important part of student success.

“I am lucky to work with an amazing, innovative staff that cares about each individual child both emotionally and academically,” Smock said. “The staff is willing to try new things, is data driven, focused on individual growth and always willing to do what is best for kids. I am so grateful to work with a staff that always puts students’ needs first.”

She said Parkhill introduced an advisory period last year, dubbed GAIN or Getting All I Need.

On Mondays, Parkhill teachers do a social-emotional learning lesson with all students, and this has been a great way for students to connect with staff and each other, according to Smock.

“On other days, students are drafted to different content areas based on needs and enrichment. Core teachers draft students based on TEKS and individual needs. Elective teachers draft students by activity to use that time to reinforce skills,” Smock said. “Sometimes students will not be drafted and have a choice where they go. That is when the student has to reflect and think about his or her needs for the week. We honor student voice and student choice. Students’ individual needs are met. It does not matter if a student passed or failed a test, is in PreAP or on level. Every GAIN lesson is TEKS based. The schedule is fluid and changes weekly.”

Principal Smock said this has been the biggest game changer for Parkhill.

Each of RISD’s seven other junior high campuses received at least three distinction designations. Lake Highlands junior high attained six of seven and North got five. Forest Meadow, Liberty, West and Westwood achieved four of the seven, while Apollo Junior High garnered recognition of achievement in English Language Arts/Reading, Social Studies and Postsecondary Readiness.

Parkhill Junior High Attains All Seven TEA Distinctions for 2019 was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.