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On Tuesday, Jovan Wells - associate superintendent curriculum, instruction and assessment - and other Garland ISD staff presented information and a proposal to the board of trustees on the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) Program, which is strategic staffing model that targets high-need campuses. “What this proposal is, is all focused on equity,” Wells said. “As educators it’s our duty to make sure we provide students that come to us with maybe skill deficiencies or achievement gaps different types of support and services. Instead of saying we’re going to give everybody the same thing, we’re going to look at it through a different lens, which is a more equitable lens.” view article arw

Texas public school students are well into the spring semester, or more accurately, the STAAR semester. Teachers are packing STAAR goody bags, showing cutesy films, and sponsoring pep rallies to encourage each child and teen to do his or her best on STAAR. Yet, none of these motivational tools overrides the implication that if students do not do well, the consequences will be disastrous for the student, school and district.  Each district's spring calendar is a spiderweb of testing dates, as students take practice tests, tests and retests for STAAR. To prepare for these tests, teachers, at the behest of their superiors, pour hours upon hours of valuable class time into test prep and remediation — drill and kill. view article arw

Frenship Independent School District adopted local innovation plan and later a calendar with a start date of Aug. 20 during a meeting of the board of trustees on Monday night. Part of the reason that Frenship looked into the district of innovation plan was to have the freedom to set a start date. Otherwise, the state requires that school districts start no earlier than the fourth Monday in August. Andy Penney, director of public relations for the district, said 67 percent of 1,707 people who took a survey on the district’s two calendar options chose a calendar that started on Monday, Aug. 20. That is one week earlier than the state would have allowed had the district not approved the district of innovation. view article arw

Preparing for college can be an expensive and difficult road.  Katy area residents with students attending Katy ISD high schools can utilize two programs that can help them get ahead and save money. Alene Lindley, Director of the Secondary Curriculum, Gifted and Talented and Advanced Academics programs for KISD, said both the advanced placement and dual credit programs offered by KISD help students in multiple ways. Two benefits are ensuring students have a head start on college courses and know what to expect from a college-level class. view article arw

After threatening to publicly shame school districts behind on implementing school safety strategies following the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that all Texas school districts and public junior colleges are up to compliance. Abbott also announced $853,000 in funding for the Texas School Safety Center, which arms schools with methods for preventing school violence, substance abuse and bullying. Some of the funds will be spent on developing specialized training for law enforcement officials based on school campuses aimed on preventing violent crimes, improving officer-student relations and improving student learning. view article arw

RICHARDSON — Jaculyn Zigtema, a special education director in Whitehouse ISD in East Texas, told state education officials Monday that she planned to hire two diagnosticians, four teachers and two behavioral specialists to handle an anticipated spike in students considered eligible for special education. More than a hundred miles from her school district, Zigtema joined parents and administrators at a public hearing to ask a question repeated many times: How exactly are schools expected to handle that cost?  "We are going to be identifying a lot of students with no projected funds we can count on," she said. view article arw

River Road Independent School District and Amarillo College are pleased to announce a joint celebration of the Diplomas and Degrees partnership that has already placed 15 River Road students on the path to associate degrees at AC. The celebration will commence with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 26 in the library at River Road High School, 101 W. Mobley St. Some River Road alumni, school board members, and those scholars already in the Diplomas and Degrees pipeline will be on hand when AC President Russell Lowery-Hart and River Road ISD Superintendent Richard Kelley sign the MOU. view article arw

Baylor Young scored 405 on the Regional Accounting contest, the highest score by any student from any 1A to 6A school in the region. view article arw

Mesquite ISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, MISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. view article arw

The South San Antonio Independent School District is taking steps to come up with new guidelines to judge school performance. District officials said they are getting very close to finding a framework to keep themselves accountable and the schools more uniform. These new guidelines would be put in place in addition to the state-mandated accountability system. view article arw

Despite the efforts of George W. Bush, many children are still being left behind; despite the efforts of Barack Obama, the race to the top didn't produce many winners.  Administered to a representative sample of youngsters, the NAEP is a rigorous test, the only instrument we have to make valid comparisons across states (and some major local school districts) and to track nationwide progress over time. The test sets a high bar for achievement: It defines "proficiency" as mastery of challenging subject matter, as distinguished from grade-level proficiency (good enough to pass).  view article arw

While Texas continues to lag in the quality of education offered to its youngest learners, the Lone Star State ranks among the best in the nation when it comes to preparing prekindergarten students who speak little to no English for elementary school.  A new national study published Wednesday shows Texas is among the best in the country for educating English language learners in those early years. view article arw

The Lake Travis ISD board of trustees recognized the top 10 academic scholars for the 2017-18 school year at Tuesday night’s regular meeting. The students include: view article arw

Article may be paywalled.  Good read find a way to read it. - js - Texas needs to revamp teacher training, provide adequate resources for children with the most severe disabilities and -- most critically -- funnel more money to public schools so districts can implement an ambitious plan to overhaul the state's embattled special education system, advocates said. But during a public hearing in Richardson on Monday, parents weren't convinced that the Texas Education Agency's plan is really enough to improve special education in the state. And they doubted that the state would cough up the resources to make it happen.  "What we need to do is break the system," Liz Wetherington said. "Break it really good. Go back to the drawing board and rethink everything."  view article arw

As Fort Bend ISD officials consider how best to utilize their schools to keep up with growing enrollment, some parents are worried about the fate of smaller neighborhood school tagged for potential closure. At a series of community meetings last week, thousands of parents weighed in on the options as a steering committee gathered input for trustees. The stakes are high as the decisions over which schools to renovate or replace are expected to lead to a not-yet-approved bond election next November. Scott Leopold, a partner from consultant company Cooperative Strategies, flew in from Ohio to lead the meetings and help with “community engagement”. Leopold’s company was hired by Jacobs Project Management after trustees approved a $247,129 contract amendment last October.  view article arw

Less than half of Houston ISD seniors started classes in a community college, vocational school or four-year university the fall after they were expected to graduate, a new study from Rice University's higher education research consortium found. The study, by postdoctoral fellow Brian Holzman, found that starting college immediately after high school was associated with higher rates of certificate, diploma and degree completion. Less than a third of HISD students earned any kind of degree or certificate within six years of high school, the report found. Holzman tracked HISD high school students who started their senior years in 2006, 2007 and 2008. view article arw

Around 200 Palo Duro High School students learned about Amarillo College's healthcare education programs at their third annual Health Sciences Showcase on Monday. The students were able to explore more than a dozen healthcare programs offered at AC, including physical therapy and nuclear medicine. view article arw

Unexpected computer problems affected at least 41,000 students across Texas as they took the STAAR test Tuesday morning. DeEtta Culbertson, a spokeswoman with the Texas Education Agency, said issues with a single server caused issues in more than 1,000 school districts across the state. In each district, at least one student was affected. "There was a 20-minute disruption when a server went down and started working really slowly," Culbertson said. "Some students couldn't log in when logged out, and some were automatically logged out when they were taking the test." view article arw

Ahead of STAAR testing, Dr. Ott shared this powerful message our principals. We think it's important that you read it too.  Per the state’s assessment program, the next two days will offer a test to every campus in the district. This assessment will measure the sum total of a child’s ability, teacher’s skill and a parent’s academic involvement.  Further, these results will manifest into a letter grade assigned to schools. According to the state, these assigned ratings will tell the story of our schools, children, staff and families. view article arw

Kindergartners who experience deficits in executive function — a set of cognitive skills that allow people to plan, solve problems, and control impulses — are much more likely to face academic difficulties in elementary school, according to a new working paper that was presented to the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting Friday. In math alone, their odds of struggling by third grade are increased fivefold, authors find. The study, conducted by Pennsylvania State University professors Paul Morgan and Marianne Hillemeier and University of California Professor, Irvine, professor George Farkas, is the latest in a growing body of research exploring the connection between executive function and student achievement.  view article arw

A majority of Houston Independent School District high school graduates enroll in college, but very few earn their postsecondary degree — which affects their annual wage.  That’s according to a new study published by Brian Holzman of the Houston Education Research Consortium from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, a local public policy think tank. The report looked at college enrollment and completion rates as well as salaries for three cohorts of HISD 12th graders between the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years. These three years were before HISD implemented a college advising program. view article arw

Houston ISD trustees cleared the way Thursday for expediting approval of in-district charter agreements that would help HISD avoid major state sanctions. Trustees didn't, however, hear any details Thursday about those agreements, which involve HISD potentially surrendering control at 10 low-performing schools. Less than three weeks before proposals must be submitted to the Texas Education Agency, HISD administrators have not named any organizations that would take control of campuses or divulged contract language. view article arw

Six months after Southeast Texas superintendents asked state lawmakers to cut them some slack on this year's academic ratings, they still don't know whether students taking annual standardized tests this week will be penalized for the time and momentum lost to Tropical Storm Harvey.  "We're left in limbo," Orangefield Superintendent Stephen Patterson said. "We have kids that have no homes, schools that are being taught in way less than ideal situations, those have to be factors that you would consider." view article arw

Food, toiletries, a shoulder to cry on — Communities in Schools tries to fill in the gaps in students lives, according to a presentation at the Temple Independent School District board of trustees meeting Monday. Communities in Schools is a national organization that seeks to support children by providing material and community support to those in need and at risk of dropping out of school. Michael Dewees, executive director for CIS of Greater Central Texas, gave the school board an update on CIS activities in the past year. “Our number one priority is children, it will always be children ... especially ... those who may be facing challenges in their lives or at home that might cause them to struggle at school,” Dewees said. “We intervene, but we prefer to be prevention — dropout prevention.” view article arw

This week, students across the state will take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR tests. The state will use the results to grade individual school districts on an A-through-F scale.  Lawmakers passed the mandate to create the STAAR in 2009, aiming to make it more rigorous than its predecessor, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Advocates for the new test say it provides clear data on student performance. But critics say it forces schools to put too much focus on standardized tests. view article arw

Repost!  AUSTIN – The National Center for Education Statistics today released results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Reading and Mathematics, Grades 4 and 8. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath issued the following statement: view article arw

The best way to improve public education in Texas? Cut the number of standardized tests students have to take, according to a February 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. That answer came in ahead of increased funding, vouchers, higher pay for teachers, incentives for prospective teachers, grading of schools, expanded pre-k, more charter schools and more online earning.  Texans really, really hate those tests. They are also deeply unhappy with the state’s school finance system — particularly the (majority) part of it that’s funded by property taxes. view article arw

I saw this article on Everything Lubbock and, as the parent of a high school student, read it immediately. I’m sure most Lubbock parents did the same, especially seeing that some of our students were affected. When this glitch occurred, almost 1,000 Lubbock ISD students were online testing. Some experienced a delay that lasted anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes. Good grief. view article arw

Houston ISD administrators plan to wait a little longer before outlining plans for partnerships at 10 low-performing schools. District leaders are not expected to release detailed recommendations for partnerships at the long-struggling campuses during Thursday's school board meeting, falling further behind their original timeline for providing information about the plans. Administrators previously said they hoped to unveil recommendations in early April and bring them up for a vote at Thursday's meeting. view article arw

McCamey ISD students will have to make-up the STAAR exam after the district canceled classed while deputies searched for a wanted man.  view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released the framework for how it will use State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness scores and other measures to dole out accountability ratings to schools on Tuesday, the same day students across the Lone Star state began taking the state-mandated battery of tests. The state's accountability system will measure academic performance in three areas: student achievement, school progress and closing achievement gaps. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday it would create five-year benchmarks to allow schools and districts to better demonstrate progress toward meeting the state’s academic standards, a welcome change for educators who have complained the state too often moved the goal posts when it came to assigning its accountability ratings. The change was one of several announced as the TEA begins implementation of an A-through-F letter grade rating system for individual schools and districts mandated by Texas lawmakers. Districts will receive the letter grades this fall, while individual schools will be given the new ratings in fall of 2019. view article arw

Lewisville ISD is among dozens of Texas school districts that experienced technical problems while taking the STAAR test Tuesday. Chief Communications Officer Amanda Brim said the district experienced a 30 minute outage. view article arw

SueAnna Thomas, Assistant Principal at Scudder Primary School in the Wimberley Independent School District, is among 20 administrators named Region Assistant Principals of the Year by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). The peer-based award recognizes principals for their commitment to student learning as evidenced by exceptional school leadership. “SueAnna has a gift of developing positive relationships with all stakeholders. She wears many hats with a positive attitude. She is hard working, dependable, trustworthy, and I am truly blessed to serve with her. She is a tremendous asset to our campus,” said Dara Richardson, Scudder Primary School Principal. view article arw

Texas students taking a critical standardized test on Tuesday were confronted with technical problems — again. Teachers told The Dallas Morning News that some students were temporarily kicked out of the testing software while taking the STAAR exam. More than 100,000 students were taking the test at the time, but it’s not clear how many were affected, since the disruption was scattered across the state, Texas Education Agency spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said. view article arw