Houston ISD trustees ask district to appeal Wheatley High School rating

The Houston ISD board of education is asking the administration to appeal the state accountability rating for Wheatley High School.

The Houston ISD board of education is asking the administration to appeal the state accountability rating for Wheatley High School.

In a 7-1 vote, the Houston ISD board of education instructed the administration to appeal the state's accountability rating for Wheatley High School, whose results this year could require intervention by the Texas Education Agency.

The call came against repeated statements by HISD administrators at the Sept. 5 agenda review meeting that the district had searched for and exhausted all possible grounds for an effective appeal.

"We have looked very deeply and very closely at all the data for Wheatley ... since May," said Carla Stevens, assistant superintendent for research and accountability. "We can’t appeal if you don’t like the model. You can't appeal if we’re just really close."

Chapter 8 of the TEA's accountability manual reads: "requests for exceptions to the rules for a district, charter school, or campus are viewed unfavorably and will most likely be denied."

HISD officials said the state's policies on appeals suggest a rating would likely only be changed if data errors that occur on the state's side result in an inaccurate rating. But trustees said Hurricane Harvey, which allowed the district to receive a ratings reprieve last year, still had an effect on this year's calculations.

"For high schools in the current A to F rating system, half of your data each year is this year's data ... and then half of it is how your seniors did in the previous year in 2018," trustee Anne Sung said. "And if remember, in 2017-18 we had a hurricane here in Houston."

Wheatley High School, located in the Fifth Ward/Denver Harbor area of northeast Houston, has been closely watched as it has been unable to meet standards for seven consecutive years, according to the TEA.

On Sept. 3, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath formally notified the district and the board of education that under a state law that took effect in 2015, he was obligated to either order the campus to be closed or appoint a board of managers to replace the trustees.

"Appeals are data-driven and rule-driven, not emotion-driven. ... This appeal should not be filed for us, the grown ups, to not be taken over. It should be about student accountability," said trustee Jolanda Jones, the only vote against the measure.

Board President Diana Davila said the board has nothing to lose by filing an appeal.

"I don't understand what other sanction could possibly come," Davila said. "We're already at the end of the rope, as some would say it, so I'm not afraid to keep going if it has to be for kids."

The TEA letter stated that any appeals would be resolved by December, when the ratings become finalized. The deadline for an appeal to be considered by the TEA is 5 p.m. Sept. 13, and all appeals are considered by an independent review board, which recommends actions to the commissioner, according to the TEA.

The HISD board next meets Sept. 12.

The district declined to comment further on the appeals process.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


MOST RECENT

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

HomeAid Houston partnered with Boys and Girls Country to open three cottages in Hockley. (Courtesy Boys and Girls Country)
Builders partner to serve homeless population through nonprofit HomeAid Houston

Since launching in 2003, the organization has helped provide 20,000 beds for homeless individuals in the Houston area.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's police reform task force is gathering more community input. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Police reform task force asks Houston residents to share opinions through Aug. 9

The Houston Mayor's Task Force on Policing Reform is circulating a survey among Houston neighborhoods to collect opinions from residents.

An online training course to help prepare Houston ISD parents for the virtual return to school is set to go live Aug. 10. (Courtesy Canva)
Houston ISD to launch parent educational course on virtual learning Aug. 10

The district is asking parents to complete the course by Sept. 4.

The 2020 U.S. Census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount. (Community Impact staff)
Shortened census timeline could shortchange Houston, its most vulnerable communities

The 2020 U.S. Census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount.

The farm-to-table restaurant plans to create 90 jobs and offer familiar American meals. (Courtesy Whiskey Cake)
Whiskey Cake restaurant to open in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Openings, closings and relocations out of Rice Village (Courtesy Rice Management Co.)
Rice Village updates: 4 new business openings, closings and relocations to know

Look out for these openings and closings in Rice Village.

The overall death total in Harris County hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 17 deaths confirmed Aug. 5, including man in his 20s

The overall death total hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older.

Restaurants in Houston can now opt to take up to 50% of its designated parking spaces to create outdoor dining space as long as COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston restaurants can now tap parking lots for outdoor dining

Houston City Council has approved a proposal to allow restaurants to take over 50% of their parking spaces to expand outdoor dining capacity.

Another $20 million in relief will be available soon for Houston residents struggling to pay rent. (Community Impact staff)
Houston OKs $20M in rent relief with provision to delay evictions

The new funds will also be prioritzed to the most vulnerable residents rather than a first-come, first-served process.