White Oak ISD joined Spring Hill ISD with grade of A, while three other area districts came in with B’s in the latest grade reports for school districts.
Texas Education Agency released its yearly accountability ratings for school districts across the state Thursday. The ratings cover the 2018-19 school year and grades schools on an A-F system.
Spring Hill ISD kept its A average for the 2018-19 school year, and White Oak ISD joined them, the TEA said.
Longview, Pine Tree and Hallsville ISDs all received a B average.
The ratings are calculated based on three factors: student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.
Student achievement is calculated using State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness scores, graduation rates and college, career or military readiness.
To determine school progress, TEA uses academic growth, or how a school performs on state assessments, along with relative performance, which is a comparison of districts close in percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
Closing the gaps examines the performance of student groups such as economically disadvantaged students and English-language learners. TEA then compares academic achievement of those groups to the district’s “all students” population.
Spring Hill ISD
At Spring Hill, which earned an average score of 92, the high school had an A rating and a score of 90. The other campuses received a B. Spring Hill got a 92 — or an A — in the 2017-18 school year, too.
Superintendent Wayne Guidry said maintaining that rate is a result of great employees in the entire district and great parents.
“We have great parents. Our kids come to school ready to learn,” he said. “When you have great parents and great staff, you get great results.”
To bring all campuses up to an A, which Guidry said is difficult to do at the elementary and middle school level, the district will examine what needs improvements at each campus.
“Every day, we just want to be better,” he said. “We identify needs, come up with improvement strategies and put our resources behind those strategies.”
White Oak ISD
Superintendent Mike Gilbert said his district is focusing on instruction, not trying to get high assessment scores, and it paid off.
White Oak ISD jumped from a B rating with a score of 88 in 2017-18 to an A rating and score of 90 in the 2018-19 school year. The high school earned an A rating with a score of 92. The other campuses have a B score.
“Our purpose and focus is on good instruction and making sure that we’re making our lessons and our delivery relevant to our students,” Gilbert said. “White Oaks’s never been really focused on these scores. We’re more about making sure kids are prepared for the future.”
Gilbert said he appreciates his teachers and how that translates to good ratings, but he believes his district is more than a rating.
Longview ISD’s Hudson PEP Elementary School received a near perfect score of 98.
Superintendent James Wilcox said the score is a result of meeting the individual needs of students at the campus.
Longview ISD’s score increased 5 points from a B rating with an 83 in 2017-18 to a B rating with a score of 88 in 2018-19.
Ned E. Williams Magnet STEAM Academy also earned an A rating with a score of 90.
Wilcox said the success is a result of Montessori and International Baccalaureate programs.
“We’re starting to see the results of the Montessori program and the teaching philosophy of International Baccalaureate. It’s just the philosophy our teachers are implementing in the classroom,” he said.
Earning a C rating were East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy and Judson STEAM Academy.
“We have a plan in place, and those campuses will see significant improvements next year, and it’s just the professional development we’re doing,” Wilcox said. “We just have to do a better job as adults in delivery of instruction.”
Receiving a B rating are Bramlette STEAM Academy, J.L. Everhart Elementary School, South Ward Elementary School, Forest Park Magnet School, Foster Middle School, Early Graduation High School and Longview High School.
Wilcox said the district will be in an even better place next year.
“We’re happy with the performance of our students, but we’re not satisfied,” he said. “We think we’re in a good spot, and we think next year is going to be even higher than this year.”
Pine Tree ISD
One of the most significant jumps in ratings was at Pine Tree ISD, which scored a B rating with a grade of 86 in 2018-19 after earning a C rating with a grade of 79 in 2017-18.
Superintendent Steve Clugston said the improvement is a result of giving teachers what they need to perform well in the classroom and deliver instruction with as few obstacles as possible.
The primary campus had the highest score, 86, for the district. Other B rating campuses are Pine Tree Junior High, ExCEL High School — which provides accelerated learning options for students who qualify — and Pine Tree High School.
Both Birch Elementary School and the middle school earned a C rating. Parkway Elementary School was issued a D rating.
Clugston said the district will make sure some of the newer, less veteran teachers at Parkway will have the support they need to improve the campus. Those efforts, plus some schedule changes to adjust to the students’ needs, will help the campus.
The end goal is A’s across the district, he said.
“I’m really proud of our people and kids for working hard,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re going to keep working hard until we get there.”
Superintendent Jeff Collum said he still believes the Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville was a good addition to the district, despite it bringing down the overall rating to a B.
Hallsville scores dropped from an A with a score of 91 in 2017-18 to a B with a score of 82 for 2018-19.
North Elementary School is the only campus with an A rating for Hallsville ISD. All other campuses earned a B. The Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville received a D with a score of 61.
“The fact that we added over 5,000 students online to our already 5,000 traditional brick-and-mortar students and still maintained a B rating is incredible,” he said. “That’s like adding a new school district and still maintaining a B.”
However, the district will evaluate improvements and scores in the next two years and decide if the partnership is still a good idea, he said.
“Our brick-and-mortar students, they performed extremely well,” Collum said. “They improved across the board, and we would have been a high A, if you exclude the TVAH students. I’m extremely proud of our brick-and-mortar students and teachers.”