While most area students – and likely all area teachers – are spending this month and most of the next “chilling” following the 2019-2020 academic year, that doesn’t mean school is out. Indeed, where academic endeavors are concerned, elementary schools, junior highs, high schools and colleges and universities are a 24/7/365 proposition. The summer’s simply a time to revel in past accomplishments and prepare for the new ones to come. Here are examples of how this kind of diligence makes this area’s academic arena a standard bearer …
AISD revolutionizes the way students take the SAT test
Remember when you had to drive (or have your Mom drive) to some odd location on an early Saturday morning with a No. 2 pencil in-hand to take the feared SAT exam? Well, those days came to an end last year at the Arlington ISD.
The district began offering the examination at each high school campus – and during the school day – and the Arlington ISD paid the fee for each exam!
The move was a first for the district, and the decision was made because AISD officials wanted every eligible eleventh grader to have the opportunity to take the exam. To make the experience a bit easier, the also put together a list of helpful tips for parents and students:
Before Test Day:
Sign up for free practice on Khan Academy – The SAT® is the only college admission test that offers free, personalized practice to all students. Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® offers students an individualized study plan that helps them focus on the areas they need to practice the most. It includes thousands of practice questions with instant feedback, video lessons, and eight full-length practice tests. Students signed up at
Research shows that students who spend 20 hours on Official SAT Practice gain an average of 115 points from the PSAT/NMSQT® to the SAT, nearly double that of students who didn’t use it.
Create a college board account – Students need a College Board account to view their SAT scores when they’re ready. They can also use it to search for colleges and build a college list. Students can set one up at collegeboard.org/mysat.
Decide where to send your scores – On test day, students can choose four colleges, universities, and/or scholarship programs to which to send their scores for free. Students should make sure they have their lists ready prior to taking the test. The SAT is accepted by all U.S. colleges. Learn more at sat.org/send-scores.
On Test Day:
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before – Parents, that includes you.
- Arrive to the test a few minutes early – Even though you’ll be at your home school, test day won’t be like a typical school day, so give yourself plenty of time to settle in, get some water and get ready.
- Parents, give student a high five. – Taking the SAT exam is a great accomplishment. Be proud of the achievement.
More information for parents and students is available at
Eddy Peach benefit concert set for Sept. 7
The Eddy Peach 2019 benefit concert will be held on Sept. 7 at Arlington Music Hall. The event, which honors one of the more successful coaches in Texas high school football history, the late Eddy Peach, is hosted by the Arlington Athletic Hall of Honor and will raise money to provide scholarships for Arlington Independent School District student athletes.
Peach was Lamar High School’s first coach when the school opened in 1970, and over the next 39 years, his teams had a record of 309-124-6. Peach was the first coach in Texas history to win 300 games at the state’s highest competitive level.
“He could win at such a high level, but he was the ultimate servant leader,” says his son and current Arlington High School coach, Scott Peach. “He focused on the kids’ success. Dad always said he had the greatest job in the world.”
Tickets for the event are available at arlingtonmusichall.tix.com.
MISD Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas retiring
After 37 years in education, Mansfield ISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas (pronounced Vuh-shaw-scuss) is retiring.
Dr. Vaszauskas came to Mansfield ISD in 2009 as superintendent of curriculum and instruction. In 2013, the MISD School Board named him interim superintendent and later promoted him to the superintendent of schools.
During his tenure at MISD, Dr. Vaszauskas was named the 2017 Region 11 Superintendent of the Year and a top five finalist for the 2017 Texas Superintendent of the Year award. MISD also received an “A” from the Texas Education Agency under his guidance and adopted tangible ways to track student progress through the Vision 2020 strategic plan.
“I love Mansfield ISD! However, in my heart, I believe it is time for this wonderful district to have new leadership,” Dr. Vaszauskas says. “I pledge to make this transition smooth and fully trust that the amazing MISD School Board will find the best leader for this district who will fulfill the needs of students, staff and the community.”
Dr. Vaszauskas’ last day will be Feb. 5, 2020. The MISD School Board is currently establishing a process for hiring the next superintendent, which will be discussed further at the regular board meeting on Tuesday, June 25.
“While we will never be able to replace Dr. Vaszauskas, I am confident that we will be able to find another great leader who will continue to prioritize student success,” says Board President Karen Marcucci. “We are committed to continue our work to focus on student outcomes and maintain a tradition of excellence.”
UTA ranked 34th nationally for best return on investment
Last month, officials at The University of Texas at Arlington learned that the university was ranked No. 34 nationally for universities offering the best return on investment for online students, according to the website collegeconsensus.com.
College Consensus pointed out that UTA offers multiple start times for the convenience of busy, working students with full schedules. The website listed accelerated programs available to online students as another strength of UTA programs.
“With the variety of programs, accomplished faculty and excellent student support, this is a university worth looking into for the best return on investment colleges,” College Consensus said.
Troy Johnson, UTA’s vice president for enrollment management, says the recognition that UTA provides excellent value for online students shows that the university is successfully tailoring its education to the busy realities of student life.
“At UTA, our graduates don’t just get an education. They get a career,” Johnson says. “And we’re not only helping individual students, but we’re helping the state’s workforce by ensuring that more Texans achieve higher levels of education.”
PCA among top 10 Christian high schools in county
The website niche.com has named Pantego Christian Academy the 10th-best private high school in Tarrant County.
The school earned the following scores from the website: “A” in academics; “B+” in teachers, “A-” in clubs and activities, “B+” in diversity, “A-” in college preparation and “B-” in sports.
According to niche.com, Pantego Christian Academy, located at 2201 W Park Row, has 600-plus students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1. Tuition is $14,350 for the highest grade offered. After graduation, 100% of students from the school go on to attend a four-year college.