Education

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The state accountability ratings are based largely on student performance on the STAAR tests. This year, the state gave school districts A-F rankings.
The state accountability ratings are based largely on student performance on the STAAR tests. This year, the state gave school districts A-F rankings. Star-Telegram archives

Nine Tarrant County area school districts received an “A” grade from the state, including Aledo, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Keller, Grapevine-Colleyville, Southlake Carroll and Mansfield while Lake Worth received the lowest grade, a “D,” according to an analysis of accountability ratings released by the Texas Education Agency.

Arlington, Castleberry, Crowley, Everman and Fort Worth school districts received a “C” grade. Arlington announced Wednesday that the district plans to appeal the rating, citing questions about test scores that were not included in the ratings because of testing issues.

“I am proud of the success of so many of our campuses and the work of our students, teachers and staff,” Arlington schools Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said in a press release. “In the Arlington ISD, we work to close performance gaps and to create opportunities for our students to be prepared for college, career or the military, and I don’t believe an oversimplified A-F label will ever be able to capture the true essence of teaching and learning.”

The grades, announced by the Texas Education Agency, are part of the new A-F Public School Accountability System and are based largely on the results of the 2018 STAAR tests, or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, and the End-of-Course exams.

Student achievement, student progress and efforts to close achievement gaps are known as “domains” that are used to calculate the A-F ratings. The formula also gives districts credit for college and career readiness, including students completing dual credit, earning associate degrees or industry certification.

An “A” represents exemplary work while an “F” grade is an unacceptable rating.

Under the 2018 A-F state accountability system, 153 school districts and district charters achieved an “A.” Education Commissioner Mike Morath said that many of those districts are accomplishing strong performance for all its students in areas with high levels of poverty.

“Achieving an A rating reflects the hard work and commitment of everyone within a school district, starting with our classroom teachers. We should all celebrate the outstanding work of these dedicated educators,” Morath said in a press release. “Districts with high levels of poverty who attain this high level of performance are proof positive that poverty is not destiny. With strong instruction and curriculum, all students can succeed.”

Most public school districts received “B” grades — across the state 612 public school districts received a “B,” “C.” or “D.”

Ninety-two school districts and district charters that would have received ratings “B-F” were not rated because of a provision related to Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the academic year.

Making the grade

Also Wednesday, the state released 2018 campus accountability ratings with a numerical grade score that districts described as a “what if” letter grade. Most Texas public schools were listed as having “met standard.”

In the Tarrant County area , 121 schools met standard with an “A-level” score. The highest scoring campuses were Mansfield’s Tarrant County College High School at Timberview and Southlake Carroll’s Old Union Elementary. Both of those schools received a 98 score.

The next highest performers scored 97 — Arlington’s Collegiate High School, Fort Worth’s Texas Academy of Biomedical Science and Marine Creek Collegiate High School, Mansfield’s Frontier High School and Southlake Carroll’s Senior High, Carroll Middle, Johnson Elementary, Carroll Elementary, Walnut Grove Elementary and Rockenbaugh Elementary.

All 11 Southlake Carroll campuses made A-level scores, according to the TEA.

“We’re proud of our students and staff for continuing to excel at whatever measures of accountability the state decides to use,” Superintendent David Faltys said in a statement to the Star-Telegram. “We believe the measure of our success is much more than one grade, one test or one snapshot of a given day. Our true accountability lies in the rigor and high expectations for excellence we call our staff and students to every day.”

Faltys said that the district “stands with other districts across the state in calling for a less complicated system of accountability that truly represents the education our students are receiving. In Carroll, it’s more about quality teachers engaging our kids in a way that inspires them to realize their full potential.”

Improvement required

Across the state, 293 campuses were listed as “improvement required,” and received scores 60 or lower which would result in an “F” letter grade. In the Tarrant County area, 27 public schools were rated as “improvement required” with scores ranging from 60 to 49.

Fort Worth’s J. Martin Jacquet Middle had the lowest score with 49. The middle school was among 11 Fort Worth schools listed as low performing. Seven high schools were listed as needing improvement: Birdville’s Shannon High School, Castleberry’s Reach High School and Fort Worth’s Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Polytechnic, Eastern Hills, Wyatt and Dunbar high schools.

Kent Scribner, superintendent of Fort Worth schools, said that THE district had made major gains, but the data showed it needs continue a focus on middle and high school learning gaps.

“Obviously there is a lot of work yet to be done,” Scribner said.

In Lake Worth schools, the district’s three elementary schools were all listed as “improvement required.” Marine Creek Elementary received 50 — Lake Worth’s lowest.

Superintendent Rose Mary Neshyba addressed the issue in a letter to parents, explaining that the A-F rating system is complex but doesn’t reflect the “day-to-day instructional successes in Lake Worth schools.”

“The TEA system does not reflect the multiple ways in which we assess our students’ performance and growth,” Neshyba said in the letter. “We will continue to meet the needs of every child in the Lake Worth Independent School District.”

Tarrant County area district grades

Aledo

A

Argyle

A

Brock

A

Carroll

A

Grapevine-Colleyville

A

H-E-B

A

Keller

A

Mansfield

A

Northwest

A

Azle

B

Birdville

B

Burleson

B

Eagle Mountian-Saginaw

B

Granbury

B

Joshua

B

Kennedale

B

Alvarado

C

Arlington

C

Castleberry

C

Cleburne

C

Crowley

C

Everman

C

Fort Worth

C

Weatherford

C

White Settlement

C

Lake Worth

D

New Rating Labels

A (90-100): Exemplary performance

B (80-89): Recognized performance

C (70-79): Acceptable performance

D (60-69): In need of improvement

F (60 and lower): Unacceptable Performance

Improvement required schools

Alvarado: Alvarado Intermediate

Arlington: Anderson Elementary; Patrick Elementary; Speer Elementary; Short Elementary; Thornton Elementary

Birdville: Shannon High School

Castleberry: Reach High School

Cleburne: Irving Elementary

Crowley: J.A. Hargrave Elementary; Davide L. Walker Intermediate; Meadowcreek Elementary; Sidney H. Poynter

Fort Worth: Diamond Hill-Jarvis; Dunbar High School; Eastern Hills High School; Glencrest 6th Grade; J. Martin Jacquet Middle; Leonard Middle; Monnig Middle; Morningside Middle; O.D. Wyatt High School; Polytechnic High School; Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary

Lake Worth: Effie Morris Elementary; Marine Creek Elementar; Marilyn Miller Elementary,

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