School is back in session today, and Woodrow Wilson High School and J. L. Long Middle School are starting on top, having kicked their “academically unacceptable” rankings and gained new “met standard” tags from the state’s new accountability ratings.

“Met standard” is the highest rating a school can receive, and Woodrow especially made impressive gains, scoring “Y”s across the board in every category. As the DMN pointed out, Woodrow was one of 26 schools in state and four schools in Dallas ISD that went from worst in state to best in state.

Last year the ranking system was on a freeze because of the new STAAR testing, so last year’s rating was actually from 2011 and this year’s rating reflects two years worth of gains, but as Woodrow principal Kyle Richardson pointed out, every school had two years to get the better of the state’s ranking system; some schools just took it by storm.

“We want to make sure we create the best possible school for the students in this community, and (scoring well on the state’s rating system) is a good first step,” Richardson says, crediting the turnover to Woodrow’s teachers.

“I think everybody knew this was something we needed to accomplish,” he says. “Our teachers had a really great, shared purpose. When you set goals for yourself as a school and you have dedicated specials teaching… they did a great job. It was important that we do well in every area.”

Naturally Richardson didn’t want to brag about himself, but Woodrow’s PTA president Randy Patterson didn’t mind bragging for him. Since Richardson started at Woodrow two years ago, not only are testing scores up, but so are scholarship numbers, attendance, and graduation rates, Patterson says.

“So the fact is, whatever programs he has implemented, it’s worked because there’s the results. His numbers have proved it,” Patterson says. “I have to say, after two years with (Richardson), of me working directly under him as PTA president, I am so excited that he is here.”

We also tried to get ahold of J. L. Long to get similar thoughts on the new “met standard” ratings at Long, but we didn’t hear back.

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