HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A big group of parents and community leaders showed up Thursday night to voice their concern at a meeting of the HISD board of trustees.  Their message was clear: they didn't want any type of separation for their children. A series of tense moments came before the board finally voted on whether to consider turning over some failing schools to a private group under Texas Senate Bill 1882, which essentially means the district would partner with an open-enrollment charter school or eligible entity to operate a district campus.   view article arw

A law firm was hired by the district to investigate concerns of alleged grade tampering or an unfair grading scale.    An independent investigation into the grading scandal at Krum ISD found no evidence of wrongdoing.  A law firm was hired by the district to investigate concerns of alleged grade tampering or an unfair grading scale.  “A lot of people in the community appear to have demanded that those accused prove their innocence," said Dallas attorney Aric Stock. "I strongly caution the district this is a dangerous precedent.”  One of the rumors was that teachers were ordered to change the grades of the high school principal's daughter. view article arw

Could Austin ISD Shutter 12 Schools?

December 1308:40 AM
 

Austin Independent School District officials are considering closing 12 campuses, among other actions, to reduce the district's $29 million budget deficit, according to a document obtained by the Chronicle. The draft report says that each closed campus could save the district about $1 million, but it does not list which schools could be closed. The document does indicate that two campuses could be closed next year, seven in the 2020-21 school year, and three more in 2021-22. A total of 91 potential budget reductions are listed in the document, which was not widely shared with the public or with members of the district's own Budget Stabilization Task Force, which has been working to finalize its own report on the topic. Of the items, which total about $55.1 million in potential savings annually, more than half would primarily impact AISD's central administration rather than its individual campuses and students, but the most controversial options would definitely be felt among the broader community. view article arw

AUSTIN — The Austin Independent School District is considering closing up to a dozen campuses to make up for a budget deficit.  That is just one of 91 different ideas on how to make up for a $55 to $60 million budget shortfall. Other options include cutting 150 to 200 jobs and increasing high school class size. view article arw

KRUM — An independent report commissioned by Krum ISD has found no evidence of unfair grading practices, a controversy that has divided a small town.  This fall, accusations flew around Krum that some students related to administrators were getting an unfair grading advantage, jumping ahead in class rankings. A popular vice principal at Krum High School reportedly raised concerns about the grading practices, and some community members believe he was forced out of his job as a result. view article arw

AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) today released the final 2018 state academic accountability ratings for 1,200 school districts and charters and more than 8,700 campuses. The final ratings include the results of an appeals process that provides districts and charters an opportunity to contest preliminary ratings.  Preliminary state accountability ratings were announced by TEA in August. The Texas Education Code requires the commissioner of education to provide a process for districts and charters to challenge their accountability ratings. School district appeals are first carefully reviewed by an independent appeals panel before being sent to the commissioner for a final decision. view article arw

RALEIGH State lawmakers will allow Wayne County Public Schools to keep a low-performing elementary school in Goldsboro instead of having to turn it over to the state and potentially to a for-profit company to run.  A bill approved Thursday by both the House and Senate would keep Carver Heights Elementary School from being taken over by the Innovative School District for the 2019-20 school year. view article arw

The findings of an independent investigation into the grading scandal at Krum ISD will be released at a meeting Wednesday night. A law firm was hired by the district to investigate concerns of alleged grade tampering or an unfair grading scale. The school board's agenda for Wednesday shows trustees will hear the report in a closed session and a public presentation will follow. view article arw

As Coppell ISD moves toward a boundary realignment, the district staff is working on how to align several district programs. Those include its international baccalaureate (IB), dual learning immersion (DLI) and pre-kindergarten and preschool program for children with disabilities (PPCD) programs with the proposed boundary plans. According to Angie Applegate, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, the district staff wants to keep Pinkerton Elementary an IB campus. view article arw

Starting an International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme takes time, but Frisco ISD leaders say the district is on pace to have a healthy participation once it begins. District officials updated the Board of Trustees on the programme's status of implementing IB at Frisco High School and Bright Academy during Monday's meeting. Officials said FISD is in the candidate stage for the Diploma Programme (DP), which will be for juniors and seniors and will be located at Frisco High School. view article arw

A nonprofit formed by city of Houston leaders may seek temporary control of up to 15 Houston ISD campuses in neighborhoods with historically low-performing schools, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday.  The nonprofit, created by Turner’s education czar and led by Turner-appointed board members, marks the city’s effort to improve academic performance at chronically low-rated schools while helping HISD stave off state sanctions tied to academic failures at some of those campuses. The director of Turner’s Office of Education Initiatives, Juliet Stipeche, unveiled several details about the nonprofit for the first time last week in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. view article arw

Athens ISD announced earlier this month that it was considering cutting its school week from five days to four, according to a press release from the East Texas district wedged between Tyler and Waco.  Superintendent Blake Stiles unveiled the proposal at a district staff meeting Dec. 3 as part of a presentation on potential models for the 2019-2020 academic calendar.  If the district's board of trustees approve the change, the shorter school weeks would be launched as part of a three-year pilot  view article arw

A PRINCIPAL ASKS… TEACHER NESTS

December 1208:30 AM
 

Back when I was a teacher, I seem to remember big discussions along the lines of removing “teacher nests.” I want to share some information with my teachers about this very thing. I figured I’ll go straight to the source to help frame a compelling argument.  I’m wondering if you had any research or visuals that might be helpful in refreshing my memory? view article arw

Stockdale Independent School District Superintendent Daniel Fuller and Technology Director Billy Polasek reported on progress toward goals set and goals met. These include a savings of $100,000 in electrical costs in the past 11 months, an increase in career and technology classes from 17 offerings to 34, and fiber optics that have increased Internet speeds and capabilities. Stockdale ISD’s bond issue passed, which means even more goals can be met, such as classroom and gym improvements, security measures, and air conditioning for buses. view article arw

Westwood High School senior Pooja Enagala always has been an achiever. Her kindergarten teacher at Laurel Mountain Elementary in Austin suggested Pooja be put into more challenging classes. After testing, she was placed in the gifted-and-talented program in first grade. She was a regional spelling bee champion for five years, placing sixth at nationals one year. She is a third-degree black belt in the Korean martial art Taekwondo, co-president of her school’s choir, secretary of the school’s National Honor Society and ranks among the top 4 percent of her 616-member senior class. Now, the 17 year old can add another accomplishment to the list. She aced all three college entrance exams: the ACT, the SAT and the Pre-SAT. She may be the only Central Texas student to accomplish the feat (officials at several area school districts said they weren’t aware of another) and joins the ranks of perhaps just a handful of other students nationally to do so over the years. view article arw

Austin school district officials are proposing closing 12 schools, among other cost savings that total $55.1 million, as the district faces a deficit for the third year in a row.  The proposal, obtained Tuesday by the American-Statesman, lists 91 ideas to cut costs and increase revenue. It doesn’t suggest campuses for closure but shows two schools could be closed as early as next school year, with seven more shuttered in 2020-21 and three more in 2021-22. view article arw

A lot of districts are trying to get on the Formative Classroom Observation bandwagon with good intentions… and a lot of bad practice.  For example, at the District Administrator Meeting, some well-intentioned Assistant Superintendent or Superintendent will show a list of the observation data the campuses are self-reporting. Usually, this is rank ordered, as if the numbers actually mean something. Campus A has reported a 50% level on something. Campus B has reported a 40% level. view article arw

The Austin ISD school board is considering changes to fine arts, athletics, and career and technical education, three of its most popular programs. Specifically, the district is redoing its facilities master plans for the programs, which will determine if schools should house, and possibly expand those programs on their own campuses, or whether it would be better to consolidate and share facilities among campuses. view article arw

The latest chapter in the Krum ISD grading scandal is expected to come to a close Wednesday evening as the district publicly discloses the findings of an external investigation into allegations that high school administrators changed class ranks to benefit certain students. Attorney Aric Stock of Dallas-based Stromberg Stock will present a report to school board members in closed session before discussing the issue publicly at a Wednesday meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Krum ISD Administration Building, 1200 Bobcat Blvd. The board hired the law firm in November to investigate concerns about grade changing, class rank alterations and rumors about students being asked to sign nondisclosure forms. view article arw

Katy ISD has done it again, as 11 of its schools are named the best in a 2019 ranking released by Niche, a public data analysis site. Four high schools and seven junior high schools made the list in separate categories in the the Top 25 2019 Best Public High Schools and Junior High Schools in the Houston Metropolitan Area. view article arw

The city of Houston’s education czar and three well-connected, civically engaged residents plan in the coming weeks to seek control of some long-struggling Houston ISD schools in a bid to improve academic outcomes and help the district stave off major state sanctions tied to chronically low performance at the campuses.  State business records show Juliet Stipeche, the director of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office of Education Initiatives, and the three board members have formed the Coalition for Educational Excellence and Equity in Houston, a nonprofit that could partner with HISD to take over campuses under a state law encouraging charter agreements between school districts and private organizations. view article arw

How many parents strongly encourage their high school students to take dual-credit courses that earn college credit? Now, how many parents would encourage their students to take these courses if they could be totally reimbursed for the costs of taking these college classes?  That is the program that is in effect at Tidehaven ISD and has been a remarkable success for the district, students and parents. Dr. Andrew Seigrist implemented this program at Matador ISD and found it to be very successful. When he came aboard with Tidehaven ISD in 2010, he immediately saw the need for this program to be set in Matagorda County as well. view article arw

A brief, bright streak of orange pierced the cool, clear sky before burning into another day filled with possibility, hope and uncertainty as a group of high school seniors gathered at Central Texas College gazing to the east. In front of the CTC Anderson Campus Center at dawn Wednesday, the first-ever graduating class of the Killeen Independent School District Early College High School met for a senior sunrise breakfast ceremony. view article arw

Just weeks ago, the day after the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Texas had again improperly denied special education funding in 2012. Even though the number of special education students was increasing, Texas reduced program funding for special education by $33 million. Texas claimed the reduction was due to students overcoming their disabilities, and there was therefore an overall decrease in need across the state.While the 2012 decision to decrease its spending on special education was not in violation of federal law, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit panel ruled the case as “posing potential abuse for the future”, and risking Texas’ ability to qualify for future federal education funding. view article arw

Frisco ISD is on its way to becoming the first public school district in the nation to be an independent, accredited dyslexia therapist training center. The district is pursuing the accreditation to enable the district to train and certify teachers as dyslexia therapists in-house. The district has submitted all of the necessary documentation to the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council, an organization that accredits quality training courses for the preparation of language specialists. The next step is a site visit by the council. view article arw

TOP LYS TWEETS – DECEMBER 10, 2018

December 1008:30 AM
 

Principals have no excuse not to be visible, present and available to our students today! A principal who’s not mobile – out and about – is a absent principal! (By @brewerhm) view article arw

Lori Maurer knew she wanted to be a teacher since the fifth grade, and now the math and science instructional coach at WoodCreek Elementary School in Katy hopes to move up into an even larger role thanks to her degree from the University of Houston-Victoria. Maurer, a Katy resident, recently was named the Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student for the UHV School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development. Emmelynn Junek of Richmond was named the school’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student. view article arw

Christmas came early for thousands of second-graders across the Houston Independent School District, who were all awarded bicycles for achieving their reading goals for the semester. About 85 of those bikes were earned by students at Eliot Elementary School on Saturday morning. The district partnered with CYCLE, which stands for Changing Young Children's Lives through Education. Through the CYCLE program, students worked with teachers to create personalized literacy goals to help boost their reading skills.  view article arw

Atlanta Independent School District was recently awarded Math Innovation Zones planning grants by the Texas Education Agency. The district is one of 15 statewide to receive the funding, which will help guide it in establishing blended learning classrooms at the middle, elementary and primary schools. The MIZ planning grant will be $125,000, and the implementation grant will be $150,000. Through the grants, TEA supports schools in the creation and expansion of high-quality blended learning programs aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. Math Innovation Zones are designed to help schools improve academic outcomes in math at all grade levels. Sidney Harrist, AISD Superintendent, said creating blended learning classrooms can be very challenging for teachers. view article arw

Computing is currently the fastest-growing, highest-paying and largest sector of new jobs in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be over one million computing job openings by 2022. Computer science is now considered foundational for every child, regardless of career choice, as technology now affects almost every field. The Corsicana Independent School District recognized the need and this fall launched Code to the Future, a program designed to teach students in the language of technology, integrating coding and game design, and giving students a well-rounded understanding of how to use technology to create. view article arw

The employees of Athens ISD knew something important was in the air Monday afternoon as they gathered at the Athens High School auditorium following student dismissal for a districtwide meeting. After greeting those gathered with some light humor, Superintendent Blake Stiles jumped straight to the heart of the matter. "A four-day instructional week," he said. "That’s why we’re here." Before he could continue, applause broke out. Over the next half hour, Stiles, joined by Deputy Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims and Assistant Superintendent Jami Ivey, explained the key components of the proposed new calendar – stressing that the Monday-through-Thursday instructional week remains only a proposal at this time, and, if implemented, it would be launched as a three-year pilot program. view article arw

The El Paso Independent School District is now considering the closure of four schools instead of ten. Thursday, ABC-7 learned the four elementary schools being considered for possible closure are Beall, Burleson, Alta Vista and Schuster. All four could close for the 2019-2020 school year. Schuster elementary was already approved for consolidation with Dowell and Crosby elementary schools. About a dozen grandparents and parents of students attending Beall Elementary showed up to protest at Thursday's school board meeting.  view article arw

Texas school districts and campuses received state accountability ratings this fall from the Texas Education Agency, and campuses in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs appear to be in line with a statewide trend that some educators say is cause for concern. More affluent campuses within Tomball and Magnolia ISDs fared better than those with high levels of economic disadvantage in 2017-18, according to a Community Impact Newspaper analysis of the districts’ campuses. Although all campuses within the two districts earned the Met Standard label, schools, where less than 20 percent of students were economically disadvantaged, averaged a 93 rating, and those with more than 50 percent economically disadvantaged populations averaged a 78. view article arw

There are those that don’t understand the power of reflective observation.  They mistakenly believe that there is nothing to learn after a few cursory visits to a classroom.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the most important key to building insight and deeper understanding about teaching and learning is to engage in a steady volume of daily classroom observation. What we have learned over the past ten years is that after about every 300 classroom observations, the observer will notice, discern, and/or learn something new… something that was previously hidden. It is the “Eureka” moment, and there is nothing else like it in instructional leadership. view article arw

MAXIMIZE STUDENT OPPORTUNITY

December 0708:30 AM
 

Lead Your School is one of the nation’s premier school Improvement organizations. LYS is the home of The Fundamental 5, PowerWalks, and The Foundation Trinity School Performance System.  We are your first, best solution for increasing staff capacity and leveraging instructional resources for the benefit of all of your students.   Founded in 2006 by education icons, E. Don Brown, Robert ‘Bob’ Brezina, and Sean Cain, LYS has directly assisted hundreds of campuses across the nation to improve student performance, regardless of the school’s baseline results. view article arw