2 Tarrant County schools get high grades, others low performing

Posted Sunday, May. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Two Tarrant County elementary schools are ranked among the best in Texas, but a significant number of area campuses are among the lowest-performing in the state, according to a recently released report.

Children at Risk, a Houston-based research and advocacy group that performs an annual study ranking public and charter schools in major metropolitan areas, ranked Tanglewood Elementary School 10th in the state and Carroll Elementary School in Southlake 12th.

While Tanglewood and Carroll ranked near the top, several Tarrant County schools ranked near the bottom of the list when compared among 1,001 North Texas campuses and 4,059 campuses statewide.

Twenty of the 59 North Texas elementary schools that got “D” grades are in Tarrant County.

And of the 27 North Texas elementary schools given “Fs,” 14 campuses are in the Fort Worth school district, including campuses that ranked 993 through 999 out of 1,001 North Texas elementary schools. In comparison, the Dallas school district had six elementary schools that received “Fs.”

Most of those campuses have a high number of economically disadvantaged students, which concerned those who prepared the report.

“We are finding schools that have high levels of economically disadvantaged students who are doing well and who still are getting an A. But we did not find that in Fort Worth,” said Robert Sanborn, Children at Risk’s president and chief executive officer. “By seeing that your school is getting a D or an F you can take that action. But what’s important is for the community to respond and say ‘let’s change this. We see other elementaries with the same population that are doing well so we need to make that happen here.’”

While Fort Worth school district officials declined to specifically address the report, spokesman Clint Bond said: “Fort Worth ISD knows and understands where its successes are and where we still have work to do. We are going about that task every day using our new strategic plan and our singleness of purpose.”

Four Fort Worth elementary schools got “As”: Tanglewood, Daggett Montessori, Como Montessori and Riverside Applied Learning Center.

Most of the high-ranking schools had low percentages of minority and poor students. At Tanglewood Elementary, which ranked fourth in North Texas, 6.4 percent of the 717 students are classified as economically disadvantaged. At Carroll Elementary, which ranked fifth in North Texas, 2.1 percent of the 525 students are low income, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Carroll uses tutoring

At Carroll Elementary, students are given tests and other assessments on academics at the beginning of the year and, for third- and fourth-graders, four more times during the school year. That allows educators to create individualized plans to address each student’s needs. said Principal Stacy Wagnon.

Students who need extra help in reading and math are pulled out of class for instruction. Teachers provide tutoring before and after school for students who are not on grade level or struggling with a concept. Teachers don’t get extra pay for the tutoring; it is a district and campus expectation, Wagnon said.

“We look at them as individuals and come up with a plan that best suits their educational needs, the social needs and their emotional needs,” Wagnon said.

All five elementary and both middle schools in the Carroll school district got A grades.

For middle schools, the highest-ranked Tarrant County campus is Dawson Middle School in the Carroll district, which ranked 12th in North Texas and 33rd statewide. Of the 18 North Texas campuses that got “Ds,” seven are in Tarrant County. And Tarrant County has six of the 20 North Texas middle schools that received “Fs.”

Four local high schools fail

The list of high schools that got failing grades included Arlington Sam Houston and three in Fort Worth: Wyatt, Dunbar and Eastern Hills. Wyatt ranked last on the list of 191 high schools in North Texas and next to last — 1,170th out of 1,171 high schools — on the statewide list.

The highest-ranked Tarrant County high school campus is Colleyville Heritage High School, which ranked 18th in North Texas and 46th statewide. And two charter are among those that got “A” grades: Westlake Academy ranked 20th in North Texas and 50th statewide, and Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts ranked 21st in North Texas and 52nd statewide.

Other local high schools receiving grades of “A” included Grapevine and L.D. Bell in Hurst.

The rankings and grades are based on several factors, primarily from data from the Texas Education Agency and the College Board, including class size, attendance and improvements in reading and math scores on state standardized tests and percentage of students from economically disadvantaged families. Schools that had been open fewer than five years were not included.

The North Texas campuses ranked come from nine counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326

Twitter: @jessamybrown

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