Ranking School District Performance

Ranking School District Performance

Rachel DeGroot

Katy ISD is often revered as one of the top school districts in the state of Texas, for the district has consistently received the Texas Department of Education’s (TEA) highest accountability ratings in prior years, and the district works to provide unique educational opportunities to all students. Recently, a bill was passed through the Texas legislature that requires the TEA to rank Texas schools and school districts on an A through F scale in five different areas:  student achievement on STAAR tests, student progress, closing the performance gap, post-secondary readiness, and community and school engagement.

 

This system is set to take full effect for the 2017-18 school year, and in order to prepare for its implementation, unofficial rankings were released in early Jan. utilizing the data collected from the 2015-16 school year to rate each Texas school. According to rankings, overall, Katy ISD received a D ranking, but data shows that numbers are down across the state. The post-secondary readiness domain was ranked low among several schools in the district, bringing down the ratings, so there has been discussion within the district regarding how to improve the scores.

 

“There has been a lot of talk in the district about what we are going to do about post-secondary readiness. How are we going to get more kids to take AP classes, and how are we going to get kids to take the coherent sequence of CTE courses, like business classes and agriculture classes, to not only improve the ranking, but to get kids more college ready,” said principal Mark Grisdale.

 

Tompkins was not ranked in the post-secondary readiness domain, because the school is new and does not have enough graduate data to compile an accurate rating, but the school was ranked in other areas. The school received an A for student achievement, a B for student progress, and an A for closing the performance gap, resulting in an overall B rating for Tompkins as a whole.

 

“I was not surprised by what we got because I knew we had a high performing campus, and I know that closing the gap between different sub-groups has been a struggle in every school, because there has been a historic trend of a large performance gap,” said Grisdale.

 

Although Tompkins received high ratings, educators and parents across the district were surprised by the data released concerning the district’s low rating. Superintendent Lance Hindt released a statement reinforcing his belief that this district is one of the best in Texas, and that staff members are “committed to ensuring that all students are provided exceptional learning opportunities, programs, and facilities”. Hindt feels that the new ranking system does not accurately reflect district and community status, but is encouraged that the TEA will polish the system before releasing official rating for the 2017-18 school year. Despite the below average ranking in Katy ISD, Grisdale feels that the school can address the preliminary rankings and work towards improving them.

 

“We need to try to do whatever we can to meet those state expectations, because the bottom line is it’s good for all students if we push them in those areas,” said Grisdale.