The first full meeting of Marlin Independent School District’s new state-appointed school board passed without much formal action, and the board postponed its decision on a new contract for Superintendent Michael Seabolt.  The board of managers discussed the state of the district and its eagerness to learn and serve, Seabolt said in an email Wednesday afternoon. The board plans to discuss Seabolt’s contract during meetings next week, he said. view article arw

More seventh-grade math goes into a tiny house than some Kilgore Middle School students might have thought. "There is some really deep math in seventh-grade (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills)," campus principal April Cox told about 45 parents and teachers at the latest of a series of community meetings looking at elements of Bulldog school life. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency confirms it has received a complaint regarding Dallas County Schools. The agency confirms the complaint was received Friday, one day after NBC 5 investigates reported that DCS donated taxpayer money to a non-profit run by DCS superintendent Rick Sorrells. view article arw

A-F system ignites controversy

February 2308:38 AM
 

The preliminary results for the Texas Education Agency’s new A-F accountability rating system, which were published Jan. 6, have school districts across the state concerned, criticizing the process and seeking a repeal. view article arw

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that, according to the College Board’s AP Cohort Data Report for the Class of 2016, more than 122,000 Texas graduates took at least one Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) exam during their high school careers. In addition, the percentage of Texas students taking at least one AP exam in high school continues to stay ahead of the national average. view article arw

The Texas Classroom Teachers Association has now filed a grievance against the WFISD over its District of Innovation plan. This comes after the board unanimously approved the plan last night. The association, which some local teachers are members of, claims the district didn't follow state law during the planning stage. Being a District of Innovation  gives the WFISD more local control by providing exemptions from some state regulations. view article arw

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column in the Valley Town Crier about McAllen ISD's push to become a District of Innovation, also known as DOI. I wrote about how most employees didn't even know what DOI was, despite its very real implications.Just after I wrote the column, I was contacted by a couple of Edinburg CISD teachers. Our neighbors, I learned, are going through the same thing. They asked if I would meet with a small group of ECISD teachers. I met with them Sunday afternoon. Before I tell you about the meeting, allow me to give you a brief background on DOI. view article arw

Sealy Independent School District began advertising a proposed plan and possible new direction on its website late last week, which intends to move the district away from many stringent statutes under the Texas Education Code and allow for more liberty in instruction. Under the plan, Sealy ISD will identify itself as a District of Innovation.

House Bill 2804, also known as the A-F accountability scale, has been passed by Texas legislature, forcing all Texas public schools to be graded on an overall scale of performance. Before that happens, districts in Texas are showing criticism.  view article arw

School officials nationwide dodge accountability ratings by steering low achievers to alternative programs. In Orlando, Florida, the nation’s tenth-largest district, thousands of students who leave alternative charters run by a for-profit company aren’t counted as dropouts. view article arw

Heather Vogell and Hannah Fresques published an important piece of investigative journalism that appears in ProPublica and USA Today about a new twist on the charter scamming in Florida. The scam is the result of Jeb Bush’s high-stakes accountability system, which incentivizes schools to get rid of low-performing students in order to maintain their letter grades and rankings. Here is the shorthand: School officials nationwide dodge accountability ratings by steering low achievers to alternative programs. In Orlando, Florida, the nation’s tenth-largest district, thousands of students who leave alternative charters run by a for-profit company aren’t counted as dropouts. Is this why nationwide graduation rates are going up? Is this what Arne Duncan claimed credit for? view article arw

Dallas ISD wants its kids back in class, and it told parents and guardians as much on Monday. While students had the day off for Presidents Day, the district sent out letters and made robo-calls, encouraging families to get their children in school when it resumed on Tuesday.DISD's attendance dipped last Thursday by 10 percentage points, with approximately 15,500 students staying home as part of the national "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" or "A Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations. An additional 1,500 middle school and high school students staged walkouts Thursday and Friday as part of the protests against President Donald Trump's tough stance on immigration. view article arw

Hearne school superintendent Adrian Johnson said he will not recommend school trustees contest the "accredited-warned" status the Texas Education Agency gave the district last week and is eager for the district to reap the benefits of this year's teacher workshops.  "I don't feel there is a strong need to appeal the ratings," Johnson said. "I'd rather be focused on moving ahead."  According to the TEA, the rating of "accredited-warned" is given by districts with deficiencies in the academic accountability and financial ratings. In 2015 and 2016, the Hearne district received "improvement required" accountability ratings. view article arw

Leander ISD plans to ask the Texas Education Agency for a waiver for classes at three elementary schools that are currently larger than the maximum class size allowed. During a Feb. 2 workshop, board members approved waivers for a fourth-grade class at Giddens Elementary School, a fourth-grade class at Parkside Elementary and three second-grade classes at Knowles Elementary. The maximum class size for kindergarten through fourth grade is 22 students, according to the TEA. view article arw

Spring Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a resolution during its regularly scheduled board meeting to initiate the process of becoming a District of Innovation. With this status, Spring ISD will be able to further personalize how instruction is delivered to students.  Established by the 84th Texas Legislature, the District of Innovation distinction gives traditional independent school districts in Texas access to many of the flexibilities offered to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. view article arw

The preliminary results for the Texas Education Agency’s new A-F accountability rating system, which were published Jan. 6, have school districts across the state agitated, criticizing the process or even demanding a repeal. In a Senate Finance Committee hearing held Jan. 24, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said he has heard “buckets” of feedback regarding the A-F system. He said a small, quiet group has been supportive of the evaluation, but a multitude of others  have provided negative criticism. view article arw

Ninety-eight percent of the school districts and charter school districts in the state of Texas have been designated as accredited for the 2016-17 school year, the Texas Education Agency announced Friday. For a district to earn the accredited status, it had to meet specific financial and academic standards, according to a news release from the agency view article arw

The Tyler ISD board of trustees agrees continuing to merely meet state standards for elementary school students simply isn’t good enough. At their Monday board meeting, district officials reviewed Measures of Academic Progress assessment data from mid-year testing. view article arw

Alice ISD's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting Monday, Feb. 13 concerning the A-F accountability rating system for Texas public schools.The resolution calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter-grade school/district rating system that will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed by the Legislature in 2015. view article arw

After what has been almost a five-monthlong project, the Frisco ISD Board of Trustees voted to officially make FISD a District of Innovation. “All members of the district improvement team in attendance voted in favor of the innovation plan as proposed,” said Gary Nye, director of Assessment and Accountability. Districts of Innovation date back to the summer of 2015, when the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code. All school districts may opt to become a District of Innovation if they meet certain performance requirements and take the outlined steps for adoption into this designation.  view article arw

On February 17, 2017, the Texas Education Agency assigned accreditation statuses to school districts for the 2016-2017 school year. The 2016-2017 accreditation status of the Hearne Independent School District is ACCREDITED-WARNED. The agency also recommends the assignment of a monitor for the district. Under state law, the accreditation statuses that may be assigned to districts include Accredited, Accredited-Warned, Accredited-Probation, and Not Accredited-Revoked. view article arw

Reviewing recent local standardized test results, Superintendent Tom Crowe said the lower-than-hoped-for scores may largely be due to a lack of confidence on the part of students, teachers and parents.The data shows where the district is, how the students are performing, whether they are where they need to be and also are a predictor for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, scores to come. view article arw

AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency today released accreditation statuses for school districts and charters across the state. Of 1,199 Texas school districts and charter school districts, 1,180 (98 percent) received a status designation of Accredited for the 2016-2017 school year. An Accredited status recognizes districts and charters as a public school that meets specific academic and financial standards. view article arw

As part of a investigation into the state’s special education services, U.S. Department of Education officials will visit a dozen Texas school districts, including two in San Antonio. During the week of Feb. 27, officials from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services will travel to North East Independent School District and Harlandale ISD. They will also visit Laredo ISD and nearby United ISD, along with Austin, Houston, Fort Bend, Aldine, Everman, Del Valle, Ector County and Leander districts. Officials will review records and conduct interviews with staff about the evaluation, referral and child find processes. It is unclear how or why those 12 districts were selected. view article arw

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — The U.S. Department of Education says their upcoming visits to 12 school districts and 24 schools in Texas are based in part on comments received during listening sessions in December of last year. During those sessions, parents expressed frustrations with special education services in their local school districts.  Parents also expressed their concerns over special education services through a blog, sending more than 400 comments to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. As a result, staff will begin making school visits the week of Feb. 27. view article arw

The Ector County Independent School District is among 12 Texas school districts that will be visited by U.S. Department of Education officials as part of an investigation on how districts find and serve special education students.  In a letter to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, Acting Director of the Office of Special Education Programs Ruth E. Ryder said the appointments will be to collect district-level and school-level data on referral, child find and evaluation procedures and practices. view article arw

The Spring Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a resolution Tuesday during its regularly scheduled board meeting to initiate the process of becoming a District of Innovation. With this status, Spring ISD will be able to further personalize how instruction is delivered to students. Established by the 84th Texas Legislature, the District of Innovation distinction gives traditional independent school districts in Texas access to many of the flexibilities offered to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. view article arw

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza delivered his first State of the Schools address to a sold-out crowd at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston. view article arw

DALLAS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education has advised state officials that it will take a closer look at special education programs at 12 Texas school districts. In a Jan. 19 letter to state Education Commissioner Mike Morath, federal officials expressed concern that the districts were failing to identify, locate and evaluate disabled children needing special ed.  School districts in Houston and its suburban Aldine and Fort Bend districts; the San Antonio-area North East and Harlandale districts; Austin and nearby Del Valle and Leander; Laredo and the nearby United district; Ector County in the Odessa area; and the Fort Worth suburb of Everman. view article arw

As part of its probe into whether student with disabilities in Texas are receiving the special education services they need, the U.S. Department of Education will visit a dozen Texas school districts in the coming months. view article arw

The Wichita Falls Independent School District is officially one step closer to becoming a District of Innovation following a public meeting Thursday night. Becoming a District of Innovation will allow WFISD to waive or be more flexible with some state laws. The District Advisory Committee unanimously gave the District of Innovation Committee’s plan the green light, but the plan is not finalized yet. view article arw

On Monday, Rusk Independent School board of trustees approved a resolution to move forward to consider designation as a district of innovation and also voted to name the District Education Improvement Council as the committee to draft the local innovation plan. According to Superintendent Scott Davis, the district of innovation status was made possible through HB 1842 to allow traditional districts flexibilities available to open enrollment charter schools. view article arw

On Monday night the Klein ISD board of trustees voted to approve the District of Innovation plan, which provides more local control, such as greater flexibility in planning and establishing class sizes and attendance policies. “We are thrilled that Klein ISD is now a District of Innovation,” said Jenny McGown, Klein ISD chief learning officer. “We look forward to leveraging this increased local control to make our shared vision of every student entering with a promise and exiting with a purpose a reality.” view article arw

The preliminary results for the Texas Education Agency’s new A-F accountability rating system that were published Jan. 6 have school districts across the state up in arms, especially the portion of the ratings that measure postsecondary readiness. About 60 percent of the nearly 1,000 school districts in the state received a grade of C, D or F in that category. view article arw

Since 2015, schools in Texas have had the opportunity to become a "District of Innovation." view article arw