Many of the best elementary schools in Texas are in the Allen Independent School District, according to one group's rankings. Kerr Elementary School ranks No. 1 in the state, Evans Elementary School is No. 2, Bolin Elementary School is No. 4 and Boon Elementary School is No. 5, according to 2017-2018 rankings by niche.com.  Bolin Principal Reena Varughese said the school's focus on small groups helps them thrive.  "In every classroom, you'll see collaborative learning and you'll see teachers pulling kids to meet their individual needs, whether they're at a higher level or whether they're struggling," Varughese said. view article arw

With new development focused on the outskirts of Waco and a handful of underperforming schools in the city, enrollment in Waco ISD has remained flat for the past six years, while other districts and charter schools have seen significant growth. Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson has been vocal since he started this summer about his desire to keep children in the district and to attract new ones, despite challenges. More than 80 percent of Waco ISD students are economically disadvantaged, and six schools in the district failed the most recent state academic accountability standards. view article arw

Brazos Valley schools in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey won't have to make up days missed because of the storm. Bryan trustees on Monday joined dozens of schools boards in requesting a "Missed Day" waiver from the Texas Education Agency, which means students won't have to attend classes during the district's three designated make-up days -- March 30, May 25 and May 26. view article arw

My senior year of high school, teachers passed out voter registration forms to the graduating class, asking us almost daily if those of us old enough to vote had picked up a form. I remember thinking little of the school’s efforts. After all, it seemed appropriate for administrators and teachers to not only stress the importance of civic duty in the classroom but to actively guide students in its implementation.  I didn’t realize at the time just how fortunate I was to go to a school that encouraged voter participation. A law enacted in 1983 requires all Texas high schools — private and public — to hand out voter registration forms, but the forms only arrive at schools upon request from administrators. The result? Only six percent of schools actually request forms. view article arw

2017-18 school year calendar: Track important days throughout the school year in Cy-Fair ISD. view article arw

In a recent column in the El Paso Times, Manny Soto Jr. bemoans the move in Texas over the last several years to require fewer standardized tests for public school students and claims our state is a laggard when it comes to accountability.  Soto mistakenly equates the number of tests students are forced to take and pass with school accountability. He is out of step with the growing chorus of teachers, parents, business people, higher education and community leaders as well as elected officials who are challenging the overuse and misuse of standardized tests. view article arw

September marks Community Impact Newspaper‘s public education guide, which delves into school campus ratings on the state’s 2016-17 standardized test scores, accountability ratings and and feeder patterns this school year. Click into the PDF below to view the 2017 Public Education Focus guide. view article arw

Thirteen College Station school district students and two from Bryan have been announced as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. In College Station, nine attend A&M Consolidated High and four go to College Station High. Bryan High and Rudder High each had one student make the list. Nationwide, around 16,000 students qualified for the distinction, earning them a chance to continue on in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. They will compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be doled out in the spring. view article arw

For Stephanie Baker, founder of Cy-Fair ISD’s Ready to Grow Gardens, a community program that started as a volunteer requirement to earn her Master Gardening certification led to a full-time job. In 2002, the stay-at-home mother of two was volunteering nearly every day at Sheridan Elementary School on gardening projects. Along with the school’s principal and the district’s science resource center, she developed a curriculum for elementary students. view article arw

At the Sept. 5 meeting of the Eanes school district Board of Trustees, Associate Superintendent for Instructional Services Todd Washburn, brought good news. Out of 1,203 school districts in the state, Eanes was recognized as being in the top 4.8 percent for Post-Secondary Readiness. All district schools met the state standards and some campuses received higher recognition. view article arw

It just got a little harder to get into the University of Texas at Austin. The top-ranked public university in the state announced Friday that students hoping to enroll as undergraduates in the fall of 2019 will need to be in the top 6 percent of their Texas high school's graduating class if they hope to gain automatic admission. The current automatic cutoff is 7 percent.   The change is the result of the growing number of applicants UT-Austin receives each year, school officials said. State law requires UT-Austin to provide automatic admission to students near the top of their high school class, but allows them to cap their automatic admittees at three-fourths of each freshman class.  view article arw

Don’t expect any STAAR slack

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Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday morning that the state was not likely to let students displaced by Hurricane Harvey delay a required state test this school year — or to change the way school districts are graded at the end of the school year. “I would say, given the information I have, it doesn’t look likely that we would be able to make too many changes on assessment, and for that matter, on accountability,” Morath told the State Board of Education. “We haven’t made any final decisions yet. But we still want to make sure students know how to read, write and do math.” view article arw

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday morning that the state was not likely to let students displaced by Hurricane Harvey delay a required state test this school year — or to change the way school districts are graded at the end of the school year. "I would say, given the information I have, it doesn't look likely that we would be able to make too many changes on assessment, and for that matter, on accountability," Morath told the State Board of Education. "We haven't made any final decisions yet. But we still want to make sure students know how to read, write and do math." view article arw

Houston ISD administrators are proposing extended school days during the first semester for 11 campuses that haven't yet opened due to damage from Hurricane Harvey. The district's school board will consider the plan at its meeting Thursday. The extended days would help the 11 schools meet a state law that requires 75,600 minutes of instruction per year. view article arw

Waco ISD expands focus on AP classes

September 1408:25 AM
 

Waco Independent School District’s Advanced Placement program is expanding, and the turnover rate for AP teachers is stable for the first time in recent years. A new focus on the program is allowing the district to push past instruction focused on state accountability exams and expand in some areas to more rigorous learning, school officials said. Students in the classes, available at four campuses, are also able to pick up college credit along the way. view article arw

Except for Ridgemont Elementary School, all Fort Bend ISD schools rated by the Texas Education Agency met state standards in accountability ratings for the 2016-17 school year, staff reported to the FBISD Board of Trustees Monday night. Trustees later voted to submit waivers to the state for the days of school missed due to Hurricane Harvey. view article arw

About three years ago, voters approved Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District's tax ratification election. The decision allowed the school district to generate additional dollars to their budget by changing the tax rate. The school district uses the TRE for technology upgrades, department equipment, maintaining district buildings and the athletic department. view article arw

After statewide school boards and administrators called for a complete repeal of Texas’ original A-F accountability rating system, legislators approved House Bill 22, creating a revised version late in the Legislature’s special session, which ended Aug. 15.  The revision reduces the number of domains rated with a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F from five to three, and requires State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, scores to account for less than 50 percent of accountability metrics at the high school level, said Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood. view article arw

With a new community-based accountability system in the works, Georgetown ISD officials are looking for public input on which values and accomplishments the district should measure. GISD’s board of trustees voted in February to implement a local accountability system with district-specific standards and methods to monitor progress while still adhering to state regulations. The concept of a ratings system based on community values can be traced back to 2013, when the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 5, which restructured the state’s educational curriculum, changed graduation requirements and created a local evaluation requirement for the state’s accountability system for districts. view article arw

Georgetown ISD’s district of innovation plan, which allows the district to exempt itself from certain portions of the Texas Education Code, took effect at the start of the 2017-18 school year. Here are four things to know: view article arw

Last year, Amanda Gonzalez was appointed to serve on the board of managers overseeing the state's overhaul of the Edgewood Independent School District, and last week, she was notified by email that she was being removed from that position. Gonzalez has plenty of criticism for the way the Texas Education Agency handled her removal and has serious concerns for the troubled district. view article arw

Adults of all ages, some with children in tow, gathered Monday at Wheatley Alternative Education Center to learn about an opportunity to earn a high school diploma through Temple Independent School District’s credit recovery program. TISD’s adult education program uses an online curriculum from Edgenuity to make up class credits students missed or failed when they were in high school. It is open to anyone who used to be a TISD student or who has a child or a grandchild in TISD schools. Those who successfully complete the program are offered a Temple High School diploma rather than a high school equivalency certificate. view article arw

The following tables reveal recently published test results from the 2016-17 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exam. Community Impact Newspaper publishes STAAR results by campus and by school district. view article arw

The Spring and Klein ISD budgets for the 2017-18 school year both include new positions and a districtwide salary increase. KISD’s 2017-18 budget—which includes $445.5 million in the general fund, $25 million in the food service fund and $85.2 million in the debt service fund—was adopted at a special meeting on Aug. 31. view article arw

PREMONT (KIII NEWS) - Improved scores on the STAAR test have led to a multimillion dollar federal grant being approved for the Premont Independent School District. Premont students have been receiving all kinds of extra tutoring and help from the State and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Now, the federal government is ensuring that the work will continue for at least another five years. view article arw

Where did Texas universities fall on this year's U.S. News and World Report's college ranking list? Here's what you need to know:  view article arw

Austin ISD once again exceeded its own graduation rate, with 90.7 percent of seniors leaving the district with a high school diploma in 2016. This is the ninth-consecutive year AISD topped its own graduation record. In 2008, the graduation rate was 74.3 percent. view article arw

The Tyler Independent School District continues to be recognized for its financial accountability. The Association of School Business Officials International awarded Tyler ISD its Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability, according to a news release from the district. view article arw

Six of the largest school districts in the United States have closed due to the devastating effects — both real and anticipated — of Hurricane Harveyand Hurricane Irma. These six districts — Houston Independent, Orange County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Hillsborough County, and Puerto Rico Department of Education — serve 1.65 million students in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. They make up approximately 3% of all public school students in the US. view article arw

School Failure: A Manufactured Crisis?

September 1108:38 AM
 

Recently the subject of school failure has been back in the news.  Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath visited with officials from Houston ISD over the state of some of the low performing schools within the district.  From that meeting came a press conference from Houston ISD School Board members, and articles in various publications about the crisis that is categorized as a failure in the classrooms, which translates to schools not making an acceptable accountability rating and being rated as “Improvement Required”. view article arw

STATS: Frisco ISD’s STAAR results

September 1108:15 AM
 

2016-2017 Frisco ISD TEA Accountability stats view article arw

The following tables reveal recently published test results from the 2016-17 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exam. Community Impact Newspaper publishes STAAR results by campus and by school district. The tables also identify the Texas Education Agency’s 2016-17 accountability ratings for districts and for each campus, noting whether they met standard in each of four indexes and if they did not meet standard overall. view article arw

The largest school district in Central Texas raised its federal graduation rates by 1 percent for the class of 2016. The Austin Independent School District says the class of 2015 graduation rate was 89.7 percent, and now it’s at 90.7 percent graduation rate — the highest the district has ever experienced. “I am so #AISDProud of the gains our students and staff have made in graduation and dropout rates,” said Superintendent Paul Cruz. “This far exceeds the national rate. This is a great step in preparing all students for college, career and life, and shows our dedication to reinventing the urban school experience.” view article arw

The Texas Education Agency has removed Amanda Gonzalez from the board of managers it appointed more than a year ago to oversee the Edgewood Independent School District, notifying her by email Thursday and later confirming it had named her replacement.  The agency had sent its letter to Gonzalez by regular mail, and she and other board members had not received it when word of her ouster — and the name of the new manager, Timothy Payne — began to spread from an early notice the TEA gave elected officials. view article arw

At Thursday night’s Round Rock ISD workshop meeting, Rebecca Donald, area superintendent of the Westwood Learning Community, presented recommendations and discussion topics on whether to change the way the district weights grade point averages and if the district should continue reporting class rank for high school students. The committee studying the topic included Round Rock ISD education officials, individual campus administrators, counselors, parents and students. view article arw