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East Texas school officials hear state plan to improve ratings

By Melissa Greene mgreene@news-journal.com
Sept. 19, 2013 at 11 p.m.


KILGORE - Texas Education Agency officials Thursday outlined how the state agency will intervene in districts and schools that received an Improvement Required rating under a new accountability system implemented this year.

TEA officials said in August that the system did not create a clean slate, and this week, officials revealed interventions that vary based on the number of years a campus has been academically unacceptable or rated improvement required.

White Oak ISD and White Oak High School, Tatum High School and Leverett's Chapel ISD and high school did not <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/most-gregg-county-school-districts-get-good-marks-on-accountability/article_d8892e0b-7ab1-5af6-8145-e5c078c33afe.html" target="_blank">meet standard</a>. The Longview district met standard but had three schools that did not - Forest Park Middle School and Johnston-McQueen and Ware elementary schools.

Administrators from those districts were at the Region 7 Education Service Center in Kilgore to learn about steps each is required to implement this year, from monitors on campus to the formulation and implementation of campus improvement plans.

Presented by the Texas Center for District & School Support, the teaching arm of Region 13 in Austin, the meeting provided administrators with deadlines and requirements for filing paperwork.

"We had identified the issue before this rating was released, but going through this process will reinforce our efforts to provide a monitoring system to ensure higher numbers in the recommended/ distinguished, endorsements categories," White Oak ISD Superintendent Mike Gilbert said at the meeting. "We'll use this training to better serve the students in our care."

Gilbert said earlier this week his district has <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/news/local/white-oak-isd-files-appeal-over-district-s-rating/article_71f52c3d-bb13-588b-b9e5-f96ce12ab3f2.html" target="_blank">filed an appeal</a> with TEA over the district's Improvement Required rating, which was assigned because of a large number of students who graduated in 2012 on the minimum plan. A ruling is due in November.

Local districts and individual campuses were noted as first-year unacceptable, meaning they were Academically Acceptable in 2011, and must create a campus intervention team comprised of a professional service provider, or PSP, and the district coordinator for school improvement, or DCSI.

A leadership team is then established, and a targeted improvement plan is created through the Texas Accountability Intervention System that addresses where data shows the campus scored low, such as in student progress.

Consequences of a multi-year unacceptable performance by a district or campus can vary from a hearing held in Austin to an order of closure issued by the education commissioner if improvement is not shown.

"We already have looked at everything, and have been disaggregating our data since we first got it. For us, we are well into the process," said Rebeca Cooper, director of accountability for Longview ISD.

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