HISD Ratings

The Texas Education Agency released accountability ratings and HISD reports a record number of high-ranked schools. The school district was watching three schools in particular that were facing closing. Two of the schools, Kashmere High and McReynolds Middle, were able to make the acceptable rating. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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The third school, Sam Houston, is still rated as unacceptable. But HISD officials say the school made progress and plans are in place for additional improvement next year. Chief Academic Officer Karen Soehnge says there will be no staffing changes.

"We are absolutely confident in the leadership team at Sam Houston High School, plus the faculty and staff there have worked extraordinarily hard. I will tell you that while they didn't get the acceptable rating that we had hoped for and worked so hard for, and they had worked so hard for, I want everyone in the room to be well aware that that school made tremendous progress."

Soehnge says the plans for Sam Houston call for a new partnership to focus on math and science programs in an urban setting. The news was better for McReynolds Middle and Kashmere High. Principal Charlotte Parker was carrying a red, white and blue pom-pon and a sign with the word believe in a black and white frame.

"The old adage it takes a village, indeed it was a village experience because in addition to the financial resources provided by the board in the form of money for technology, for increased instructional materials and support, smaller class size and all those things we also had unprecedented support from the business community."

The new accountability ratings also showed that HISD cut nearly in half the number of schools rated as unacceptable. Previously the district had 33 low performaing schools, that number dropped to 17 this year. The district as a whole was rated as academically acceptable.

HISD's new East Early College High School was rated Exemplary the first year it was open.Drop out rate and completion rates were not included in this year's accountability ratings. The state has toughened the standard and this year's data will be used only as a baseline. Assistant Superintendent for Research and Accountability Carla Stevens says that information will be published later.

"At this point we are going to use this year's data as baseline and we are going to then with next year's data be able to look and see if we are able to make improvement now that we have a more stringent rate. It did not affect any of the ratings this year as that was not one of the indicators."

Stevens says a school's rating would not be lower based soley on drop-out rate. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

HISD Photo:(left to right) Carnegie Vanguard High School Principal Ramon Moss, Kashmere High School Principal Charlotte Parker, East Early College High School Principal Joel Castro, and Superintendent of Schools Abelardo Saavedra

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