Education

9 of 10 students at this school are poor. How it earned a 'Gold Ribbon' ranking

E. Ray Elementary in the Everman school district was awarded a Gold Ribbon rating by the Houston-based advocacy group Children at Risk. The honor recognizes high-performing schools that serve schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
E. Ray Elementary in the Everman school district was awarded a Gold Ribbon rating by the Houston-based advocacy group Children at Risk. The honor recognizes high-performing schools that serve schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Courtesy of E. Ray Elementary

E. Ray Elementary in the Everman school district earned five distinctions from the Texas Education Agency last year — an accomplishment educators say is no small feat for a school serving a high percentage of students from low-income families.

It's an achievement that also earned E. Ray the status of Top Gold Ribbon school by the Houston-based advocacy group, Children at Risk.

"It's a major honor for us," said Principal Eva Quinonez. "It highlights the hard work."

Every year, Children at Risk analyzes school performance to issue a ranking of hundreds of schools across Texas. On Thursday, Children at Risk began releasing its 2018 school rankings. The analysis ranks schools and gives them grades A through F based on several measures, including performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, student growth or improvement on standardized tests over time and college readiness.

The analysis also looked at how schools perform when they serve low-income or working-class communities with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Children at Risk's Top Gold Ribbon campuses are schools that made an A or B while serving a student body that is 75 percent or high economically disadvantaged.

This is the second year E. Ray gets this distinction. The school in south Fort Worth serves 480 students — about 89 percent are listed economically disadvantaged, Quinonez said. It earned a B from Children at Risk and was ranked 86.

The principal said E. Ray staff works to meet the needs of students inside and outside the classroom addressing needs from math tutoring to hunger. The school serves grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.

"Everybody rolls up their sleeves to help our kids," she said, adding that they comb student performance data to pinpoint where students need more academic help. The culture at E. Ray is one of reaching out to students to support the whole child, she said.

“We have professionals who love our kids with immense passion,” Quinonez said. “We are here as life coaches. Moms. Dads. Uncles.”

Data for Greater North Texas is available online at texasschoolguide.org/north-Texas/. Here is a snapshot of Tarrant County schools:

Top elementary schools

Old Union Elementary, Carroll school district

Walnut Grove Elementary, Carroll school district

Tanglewood Elementary, Fort Worth school district

Eubanks Intermediate, Carroll school district (Included in this category because school has a fifth grade.)

Carroll Elementary, Carroll school district

Top middle schools

Carroll Middle, Carroll school district

George Dawson Middle, Carroll school district

Young Women's Leadership Academy, Fort Worth school district

Westlake Academy, Westlake Academy Charter School

Smithfield Middle, Birdville school district

Top high schools

Young Women's Leadership Academy, Fort Worth school district

Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, Fort Worth school district

Westlake Academy, Westlake Academy Charter School

Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, charter school

Trinity High School, Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district

Top Gold Ribbon schools

Liberty Elementary, White Settlement school district

E. Ray Elementary, Everman school district

Oakwood Terrace, Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district

Moore Elementary, Fort Worth School district

Fitzgerald Elementary, Arlington school district

Amos Elementary, Arlington school district

Oakhurst, Fort Worth school district

This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Dale Keeling is retiring after 20 years as the Everman head coach, and the playoff-bound Bulldogs made his final home game a memorable contest.

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