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Waco ISD interim superintendent responds to state accountability ratings

Today, the Texas Education Agency publicly released academic accountability ratings for school districts and campuses. The A through F ratings are based primarily on standardized tests taken by students in grades three through 12 during the 2018-2019 school year.

Waco ISD’s overall rating improved a letter grade from a C last year to a B this year.

For the first time, campuses also received A through F ratings. Of the 22 Waco ISD campuses that were rated, five received Bs, including both University High and Waco High. Seven other campuses received Cs.

The accountability ratings also show mixed results for the five campuses that Transformation Waco began operating in 2018. J.H. Hines Elementary and G.W. Carver Middle saw their overall scores decline 18 and 20 points respectively. Alta Vista Elementary and Indian Spring Middle both saw their overall scores increase by one point. Brook Avenue Elementary, which had been rated “Improvement Required” (the equivalent of an F) last year, increased its overall score by 20 points and received a C this year.

After reviewing the ratings, Dr. Hazel Rowe, interim superintendent, had the following comment:

“For our district, today’s ratings are both a reason to celebrate and a reminder that our work is far from done. It is gratifying that Waco ISD’s overall rating has improved to a B. That is a reflection of the dedication and hard work of our educators and our students. It’s also significant that University High and Waco High both received Bs. Districtwide, three out of every five Waco ISD students attend a school that received either a B or a C.

“On the other hand, too many of our schools are still struggling under the state’s current accountability system. Where we have made progress, we should take note of that, but we should not be satisfied with the ratings released today. Next week, more than 14,000 students will walk through our doors, and we owe each of them a strong foundation for their future success.

“These ratings matter, and they are important. However, they don’t measure everything that matters, and they definitely don’t capture all that is important. Trying to reduce everything that happens in a school over the course of a year to a single letter grade based mostly on how students do on a few standardized tests is a fool’s errand. Learning is more complex than that, and not every student starts their educational journey in the same place.”

District and campus ratings can be found online at txschools.gov.