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AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath today announced that he is removing the requirement to conduct grade placement committees and any related June 2018 State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) retests in fifth and eighth-grade for districts within the Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Harvey. read more arw

Fifth and eighth grade students in Southeast Texas school districts who fail their math and reading STAAR tests twice will still be able to move to the next grade this year, under a waiver announced by the Texas Education Agency Thursday.  Commissioner Mike Morath announced that districts and charter schools in Harvey-affected counties will have local authority to promote students to the next grade, even if they don't pass state standardized tests the first two times. view article arw

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath is not changing state standardized test dates for students affected by Hurricane Harvey, but he is waiving some requirements for certain students, his agency said Thursday. Students across the state will be still required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, as scheduled in March and May. But after pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott, Morath sent a letter to Harvey-affected school districts today saying students who fail required standardized state tests in fifth and eighth grade twice can graduate, as long as their local districts officials agree they are ready. view article arw

Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson plans to recommend that Waco Independent School District form an in-district charter system with the local nonprofit Prosper Waco come Jan. 25 in an effort to stave off the possibility of closure for five of the district’s struggling campuses, he announced at Thursday night’s board meeting. News also came Thursday that the district is one of seven on a preliminary list of recipients for a $450,000 Texas Education Agency grant that would help the district through the planning process for the potential partnership. view article arw

Students in 47 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey won’t be held back a grade if they fail state standardized tests this school year.  Typically, students in the fifth and eighth grades must pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness to move on to the next grade. Mike Morath, head of the Texas Education Agency, told school districts on Thursdaythat students in school districts in the counties in the presidential disaster declaration will be waived of that requirement.  The counties include Bastrop, Caldwell, Comal, Lee, and Fayette. view article arw

Barbara Lazarine, executive director of primary and elementary education for Lufkin ISD, presented an overview of the Texas Academic Performance Report results to Board of Trustees Thursday. Lynn Torres, deputy superintendent for Lufkin ISD, discussed what these results mean for the school system. “Those distinctions mean that we exceeded and outperformed our comparers in group and, if you understand, we are rated based upon the 25-40 districts that we compare to, so you have the same demographic, you have the same poverty, you have the same things like that,” Torres said. “And so when you’re awarded a distinction, it means you rose to the top of your comparison group, so we’re very, very proud of that.” view article arw

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the state's education commissioner to waive some rules used in evaluating schools in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey, a move that could bring a one-year reprieve to Houston ISD and other school districts facing possible state takeover over long-struggling schools. Districts most severely affected by Harvey have been urging the state to postpone grading and potentially penalizing them in the wake of a storm that triggered catastrophic flooding, damaged schools, delayed the start of classes and displaced students.  view article arw

More choices may be coming soon for parents of Dallas ISD students who test as talented and gifted. The district's board of trustees is expected to vote Thursday night on adding an additional Vanguard Academy to an area of the district that is considered underserved when it comes to options for those students. Sidney Lanier Elementary has been a Vanguard Academy for 16 years. Lanier specializes in performing arts. Its focus is to help children who test as talented and gifted prepare for a future of higher education. view article arw

After hearing testimony from several educators and one student, the Brownsville Independent School District ISD Board of Trustees voted in favor of becoming a District of Innovation, in order to compete with charter schools. While some district employees are disappointed in the board’s decision, others say it’s a step in the right direction.  view article arw

Marlin Independent School District’s superintendent said Tuesday that a state-appointed monitor fed district and state officials reports for years showing improvements in instruction that had not happened. “We had some children years behind in education because adults chose to play games with reports rather than tell the truth,” Superintendent Michael Seabolt wrote in an email to the Tribune-Herald on Wednesday. view article arw

You, good sir, are out of touch with reality. Come down out of that ivory tower and get down in the trenches with us, and I guarantee it will not take you long to see that this teacher (the one who wrote the newspaper article) is spot-on. view article arw

The Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees got an update on eight campuses that are on improvement required status under state accountability standards due to low state test scores. Trustees also got a progress report on steps being taken to implement recommendations from a curriculum audit conducted by WLK Educational Consultants that focused on kindergarten through third grade English Language Arts. The audit was commissioned by the Education  view article arw

We take tremendous pride in our students’ successes in Leander ISD. This fall, LISD students claimed remarkable accomplishments in arts and athletics programs, but I would like to take a moment to also recognize our academic programs and high-achieving students for their successes in the classroom. Our Advanced Placement program earned a place on the annual AP District Honor Roll for the third consecutive year. The AP program offers college prep coursework to high school students through the College Board.  view article arw

Area students could get out of school a week earlier starting with the 2018-19 school year if Leander ISD follows through on pursuing an exemption that allows the school year to start and end a week earlier than the current calendar. Officials told the school board that the district has received a number of complaints about the current calendar, which ends school on June 8. State law says public schools can't start before the fourth Monday of August or end before May 15.  view article arw

States are making modest improvements in personal finance education standards, but they still have a long way to go, according to the third report card on state efforts to improve financial literacy in American high schools. John Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, which produced the report card, says American high schools have improved incrementally, in part because previous report cards have energized debates and legislation in many states. Pelletier notes that research from Next Gen Personal Finance indicates that students from wealthy communities are much more likely to have access to personal finance education in high school than students in poor communities. view article arw

San Angelo ISD students will be headed to school five days later in August 2018.  The district's board of trustees approved the 2018-19 school calendar during its regular board meeting Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.  The district will once again begin classes Aug. 22 with the last day ending May 31, 2019. Graduation will remain on a Saturday and is scheduled for June 1, 2019. The calendar year shifted to begin Aug. 17 during the 2017-18 school year with classes ending May 25. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott is putting pressure on the Texas Education Agency to give students in school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey a reprieve from state testing requirements. Students in the fifth and eighth grade must pass the math and reading State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness to move on to the next grade. In a letter on Monday, Abbott asked TEA Commissioner Mike Morath to waive the so-called Student Success Initiative requirements for students in Harvey-affected areas. view article arw

School districts across the state are required to share data with the Texas Education Agency to provide a snapshot of their performance, and the Eanes school board heard good news about its Texas Academic Performance Report for the 2015-16 school year at its Dec. 5 study session. TAPR looks at each campuses’ student performance, college readiness, safety of schools, financial standards and accreditation status. One of the measures used to determine academic success is student scores on the standardized STAAR tests, and district associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment Todd Washburn showed the board that Eanes ranked highest when compared to other districts in the state and region. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released financial accountability ratings in December and Lamar Consolidated ISD was one of the districts that received a successful final rating for fiscal year 2016-17. Lamar CISD received an “A” letter grade, a financial management rating of “Superior” and a total score of 96 out of a possible 100. view article arw

The Magnolia ISD board of trustees adopted a resolution Monday to pursue District of Innovation designation for the district ahead of the 2018-19 school year. “What this does is it allows the district certain flexibility with state rules and guidelines and different policies,” Assistant Superintendent of Administration Jason Bullock said. “The administration is interested in exploring the District of Innovation designation for one reason at this point, and that is to consider an earlier start date to next school year before the fourth Monday in August.” view article arw

More Junior ROTC possible in Katy ISD

December 1308:15 AM

The Katy Independent School District wants to know if students are interested in participating in a junior ROTC program. Mayde Creek High School is currently the sole district campus that has a junior ROTC program - in their case one that is sponsored by the Navy. Now the district is exploring whether to expand the military-themed training for students. view article arw

Matt Authier, Next Generation chairperson, met with the Rotary Club this week to explain the mission and goals of the Waxahachie Foundation and how the community can help. About two years ago, a group of concerned citizens met to discuss the most significant problems facing the community. They surveyed 512 people, and 68 percent of them said financial illiteracy is among the top three issues. How do you manage a bank account including writing checks and keeping track of your dollars? How do you decide whether to buy or rent a place to live? How do you budget or keep track of debt? These and many more problems face us every day, but there are very little teachings on these subjects in school. view article arw

Abilene Independent School District officials approved a measure Monday creating a District of Innovation committee to explore the possibility of joining more than 650 Texas districts with the title. The move, though a formality in the process, wasn't viewed entirely as positive. Margaret Hope, a teacher at the Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science, took to the microphone to express concern for the future of teaching in the district. view article arw

A state appeals court ruling has the Progreso school district, once again, at risk of being taken over by the state. The Texas Court of Appeals has issued a ruling siding with a Texas Education Agency decision to replace the Progreso school board and superintendent with a state-appointed board of managers. view article arw

Several public forums are scheduled this week in Tomball and Magnolia, including school board and city council meetings. 1. Monday, Dec. 11: Magnolia ISD board of trustees to consider District of Innovation designation. The MISD board of trustees will consider a resolution Monday night to consider pursuing District of Innovation status. Districts of innovation were created by the Texas Legislature in 2015, providing districts more flexibility and local control in district planning. MISD must adopt a resolution and appoint a committee before pursuing the DOI designation. Trustees meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at 31141 Nichols Sawmill Road, Magnolia. View the agenda here. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released its 2016-2017 school report cards Thursday, providing the public with a concentrated place to check out different information about individual schools in the Killeen area and throughout the state. “All of the information is already available on our website,” spokeswoman Lauren Callahan said. “It’s our one-stop shop.” Among the information is the 2017 accountability rating for each individual school. Every school in both the Copperas Cove Independent School District and the Killeen Independent School District achieved a rating of “met standard.” That news was released back in August. view article arw

As a nation, the Department of Education released numbers that the rate of high school graduates is at an all-time high in 2017. Tonight we talked to one Deep East Texas high school who's contributing to that record with a 100 percent graduation rate. “We love those kids,” said Huntington High School’s Principal, Shane Stover.  view article arw

Hearne school administrators were optimistic in explaining the district's mixed STAAR scores Monday night, even if they had a small audience. School board members convened for a mandatory public hearing to walk residents through the state's annual performance report on the district and to field questions, though no one signed up to speak. Few parents attended, and only two board members showed up for the hearing. view article arw

About half of students do not feel that what they learn in school will help them outside the classroom, according to a new survey. Just 54 percent of middle schoolers and 46 percent of high schoolers think their studies are relevant, according to new data from the nonprofit YouthTruth. Relevance was rated lowest on the survey of various measures of student engagement: if students take pride in their work, if they enjoy going to school, if their schoolwork is relevant, if they try to do their best, and if their teachers’ expectations help them with that goal. view article arw

Houston's public schools may study the same curriculum, but not all perform the same. Children at Risk, a nonprofit organization that studies Texas' public education system, recently released its annual rankings for the Lone Star State's best elementary, middle and high schools. view article arw

TEA wins appeal in Progreso ISD case

December 1108:40 AM

PROGRESO — The Texas Court of Appeals issued a ruling that once again puts the board of trustees and superintendent at the Progreso school district at risk of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers and superintendent.  The ruling sided with a 2015 decision by the Texas Education Agency’s former commissioner, Michael Williams, to dissolve the school district’s board of managers, replace its main leadership role and lower its accreditation to “accredited warned” due to concerns brought up by a nearly two-year investigation into the district’s administration. view article arw

In Waco Independent School District’s effort to protect five schools from potential closure by the state next year, two things are now certain: Whatever turnaround plan the district develops will include a blended learning model, and the deadline to submit a plan to the state is March 1, Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson announced at a board meeting Thursday night. “As I said last month, our faculties and staff are working so hard to meet state standard this year,” Nelson said. “But we’re down to our last semester.  view article arw

Leander ISD board of trustees decided to move forward with the process to consider becoming a district of innovation, or DOI, in an effort to have more flexibility over the school calendar. The board directed LISD administration at its Dec. 7 meeting to create an innovation plan committee to create a DOI plan under the parameters to focus on calendar flexibility. Superintendent Dan Troxell said that by becoming a DOI, LISD would be able to adjust the first day of school by a week or more. view article arw

The Union Grove ISD board of trustees will meet Monday to discuss several campus improvement plans for 2017-18. view article arw

After days of public criticism prompted by district plans to close and consolidate a handful of East Austin schools, Superintendent Paul Cruz on Thursday issued an apology, promising to change timelines and involve parents and community members in the process.  “I realize the excitement and eagerness to get to work, coupled with aggressive project timelines, have created misunderstandings about the future of some of our schools and the process for parent and community engagement,” Cruz said in the statement. “I accept responsibility, and I apologize for the confusion.” view article arw