New State Accountability System Preparations Underway at Spring ISD
HOUSTON - Dec. 14, 2016 - Spring ISD administrators are preparing for a new statewide accountability system that will go into effect during the 2017-18 school year. The new system is based on five domains and each campus and the school district will receive six A-F letter grades - one grade in each of the five domains and an overall grade.
As early as January, districts will receive preliminary ratings using data from the 2015-16 school year to highlight how the system will work. This preview report will include the A-F letter grade that each district and campus would receive in four of the five performance domains when the new accountability system is implemented. The state will not release an overall grade for schools or districts in the preview report. Superintendent Rodney Watson anticipates that Spring ISD will receive an average rating.
"We expect that many of our campuses will receive Cs and we anticipate a few lower ratings since like the current accountability system the new system does not take into account poverty levels, language barriers and other factors that influence academic performance and challenge some of our students to a greater degree than students in affluent suburban neighborhoods,” said Watson. "Naturally though, we will use the ratings as a guide to continue our work to strengthen the district and improve student academic achievement.”
The district's five-year strategic plan, Every Child 2020 now in its second year, was developed to specifically address student achievement one student at a time. This year the district has focused heavily on strengthening the curriculum and improving literacy at all levels. Additional focus has been on a tiered system that offers increased support and coaching to students and teachers at campuses that have lower academic performance.
Spring ISD Board of Trustees President Dr. Deborah Jensen worries that an inadequate rating system will negate the progress the district is making and will discourage both educators and parents.
“Although I can appreciate the state's wanting to simplify the rating system, a single letter grade cannot fully represent the work that is being done in our schools,” said Jensen. “An A through F system where grades are assigned according to a normal curve, so an equal number of schools receive F’s as those receiving A’s, assumes many conditions that do not exist in Texas. Student populations are not the same in all schools and Texas does not fund school districts equally.”
Watson said the district's priorities will continue to be focused on ensuring teachers have the resources they need to meet student needs districtwide.
The new accountability system will take effect in the 2017-18 school year, with the first official ratings being issued August 2018. For more information on the new A-F rating system, please our A-F Accountability web page.