6 AISD schools in Central Austin receive F grade from Texas Education Agency

Six Austin ISD schools in Central Austin received F grades from the Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15.

Six Austin ISD schools in Central Austin received F grades from the Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15.

Six Austin ISD schools in Central Austin received an F grade from the Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15, despite the district’s overall B grade.

The schools are Andrews Elementary School, Burnet Middle School, Martin Middle School, Mendez Middle School, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Webb Middle School.

Officials attributed the low grades, in part, to high mobility into and out of the district, while also emphasizing AISD’s commitment to social and emotional development, fine arts education and other programs that are not considered in the grading process.

“I don’t think any of us are opposed to an accountability system,” said Debra Ready, AISD's executive director of accountability and assessment. “The unfortunate piece of the system is it doesn’t really do very much to tell us how to improve, nor does it paint a full picture of what goes on in our schools day to day.”

In the last five years, AISD has seen its enrollment drop by roughly 5,000 students and expects to lose more than 7,000 in the next decade, according to demographic reports.

District officials have attributed this, in part, to the displacement of families from the urban core as housing prices continue to climb.

“Much of that is out of our control,” Ready said. “It has to do with affordability in the Austin area, and our district mobility tracks along with that of the city as a whole.”

Middle schools in the district struggled to meet state standards. Half—nine out of 18—received D or F grades.

The district is already working to improve its middle schools, said Michelle Cavazos, AISD's chief officer for academics and social emotional learning. She cited ongoing programs to provide professional development opportunities to staff; expand one-to-one technology, or a computer for each student; and extend the instructional time in math and language arts while not cutting electives.

Additionally, officials said elementary and middle schools are graded according to a model almost entirely reliant upon State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, results.

“We will continue to emphasize the things that we do for students that are beyond the STAAR,” said Lisa Goodnow, AISD's associate superintendent of academics and social and emotional learning.

Many of the schools that received F grades are dealing with additional factors, such as a high portion of students who are economically disadvantaged or English learners.

Looking at AISD as a whole, 53.4% of students were economically disadvantaged in 2018, according to the TEA. At all six of the Central Austin schools that received an F grade this year, more than 90% of students were economically disadvantaged.



Similarly, 27.5% of AISD students are English learners, per the TEA. The schools that received F grades ranged from 36% English learners at Martin Middle to 75.9% at Andrews Elementary.



“We know that students in poverty face unique academic challenges,” Ready said.

Goodnow added students who are learning two languages may take longer to demonstrate mastery in one.

“Everybody starts in a different place, and we capitalize on their strengths and meet them where they are,” Ready said.

Now that the results have been published, the district is focused on communicating to parents what they mean and how they are calculated.

“As parents ourselves, any kind of letter grade like that would be concerning,” Goodnow said.

 
SHARE THIS STORY
By Emma Freer

Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

The first two Proterra electric buses arrived in Austin, and Capital Metro will roll them out in late January. (Courtesy Capital Metro)
Capital Metro starts electrifying its transit fleet; first 2 electric buses go into service Jan. 26

Capital Metro will roll out the first two electric buses in late January.

The Burnet Road location of Taco Cabana was one of 19 to close. (Courtesy Taco Cabana)
North Austin location of Taco Cabana on Burnet Rd. now closed

The national chain closed 19 locations in Texas.

Austin City Council is considering an end to enforcement of low level marijuana possession laws. (SHELBY SAVAGE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER)
Support grows among Austin City Council members who want to end local penalties for low-level marijuana possession

If successful, the Austin Police Department would no longer hand out arrests or citations for possession of marijuana with no intent to distribute.

dell seton university medical center
Ascension Texas names new regional hospital president

Ascension Texas announced Jan. 16 that Timothy Brierty has assumed the role of regional hospital president, effective immediately.

Prep will bring shared commercial kitchen space to Austin this summer

Prep, a company that provides shared commercial kitchen space for local entrepreneurs, will open a …

Rendering Courtesy Baldridge Architects Office
Sorek Barbershop & Menswear to open on ground floor of Arrive Hotel

Sorek Barbershop & Menswear will open in the ground-floor retail space at the East Austin Arrive hotel, 1813B …

Howler Brothers to open surf-inspired clothing and accessories store on South Congress

Howler Brothers—a locally based, surf-inspired clothing and accessories company—will open a new retail …

zanjero park water
Travis County commissioners pursue easement to bring water to Las Lomitas subdivision

Travis County commissioners are working to address colonias—unincorporated areas in the county that lack basic utilities.

New skincare clinic SkinSpirit coming to North Lamar

Skincare clinic SkinSpirit—the largest provider of Botox and dermal fillers in the U.S. according to its …

Austin Public Health is investigating a confirmed rubella case, the first case of the contagious viral infection in Travis County since 1999. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Austin Public Health confirms city’s first rubella case since 1999

Austin Public Health is investigating a confirmed rubella case, the first case of the contagious viral infection in Travis County since 1999.

Travis County commissioners will receive preliminary estimates for a new peace officer step pay scale at their Jan. 28 meeting. (Courtesy Travis County Sheriff's Office)
Travis County commissioners consider revisions to peace office pay

Travis County commissioners are considering options that will revise the pay scale for peace officers, including law enforcement, corrections and park rangers.

The 44 East project will reach 570 feet in height with 322 residential units and 3,534 square feet of commercial space. (Rendering courtesy IntraCorp)
Planned 49-story Rainey Street district project clears major hurdle on way to 2022 completion date

The project will include 322 residential units and 3,534 square feet of commercial space.

Back to top