Congratulations are in order for LH’s Bobby Burns, dad of recent LHHS graduate Byron and superintendent of Carrolton-Farmers Branch schools. His district is moving toward a Recognized rating after cutting its dropout rate in half over the last year.

A year ago, the Texas Education Agency began factoring in “completion rates” to determine school and district ratings, in addition to student TAKS test scores. Lake Highlands and RISD were caught up in the dropout rate trap and had to breakout their detective skills to track down and document the location and educational status of students no longer attending LHHS. We squeaked by with a dropout rate below 15% to earn the coveted Recognized label, but CFBISD was not so lucky. They dropped to Acceptable, despite the hard work of devoted teachers and dedicated students to improve test scores.

Of course, documenting a population on-the-move requires resources – resources which some would rather spend in the classroom. In today’s Dallas Morning News, CFISD’s statistician Cloyd Hastings says it took a task force of district employees to track down missing students and urge them to re-enroll. The task force’s work will continue, he says. “Sometimes you have to have a few accidents before you get a stoplight. Once the stoplight goes up, it changes the whole intersection.”

It’s a lesson Lake Highlands also learned and is working to improve upon.