FBISD's Ridgemont Elementary improves but fails to meet state standards

Except for Ridgemont Elementary School, all Fort Bend ISD schools rated by the Texas Education Agency met state standards in accountability ratings for the 2016-17 school year, staff reported to the FBISD Board of Trustees Monday night. Trustees later voted to submit waivers to the state for the days of school missed due to Hurricane Harvey.


Most schools meet standards

Ridgemont Elementary School did not meet the TEA’s performance standards, according to Fort Bend ISD’s 2017 accountability report.

A school district’s accountability ratings are based on four performance indexes: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness, according to meeting documents.

These indexes measure student test scores according to a number of various factors, according to the TEA 2017 Accountability Manual.

For accountability reports, the TEA assigns public schools ratings ranging from “Met Standard” to “Improvement Required,” according to the manual.

Ridgemont Elementary School received an overall accountability rating of “Improvement Required,” for scoring below TEA requirements in two categories: student achievement and closing performance gaps, according to TEA documents.

This is Ridgemont’s third year being classified by TEA as requiring improvement, according to meeting documents. If the school does not meet standards next year, the state can intervene by sending its own staff to run the school, Fort Bend ISD spokeswoman Amanda Bubela said.

In 2016, Briargate Elementary School also was designated “Improvement Requirement,” but met standards this year. Both schools will continue with set plans to address these subpar performance issues, according to meeting documents.

Last year FBISD implemented new teaching models at the schools in hopes of boosting their scores, Bubela said. The model incorporated a version of team teaching and served students based on individual needs, she said. Fort Bend ISD invested money into these schools and hired new staff and changed the delivery model of instructions, Bubela said.

“It resulted in academic gains in both [Briargate and Ridgemont Elementary Schools],” she said. “There was growth at Ridgemont, but it wasn’t dramatic enough for them to exit the ‘Improvement Required’ [status].”


Waivers approved for missed instructional days

Board members unanimously voted to submit to the state applications for waivers for school days missed when schools were closed Aug. 25 through Sept. 11 due to Hurricane Harvey.

“[The waiver] gives us the ability to not have to adjust our schedule,” said Steve Bassett, the district’s chief financial officer.

Filing the waivers also keeps the district from losing state funding, according to meeting documents.

“If we didn’t have the waivers and we didn’t make any changes [to the school schedule or calendar] then we could lose, potentially, revenue associated with each one of those days,” Bassett said.

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in many Texas counties, including Fort Bend, due to the damages incurred by Harvey, according to meeting documents. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced he would grant waivers for instructional days missed from August 25 through September 8 for school systems within the disaster declaration area.


Board reviews tax rate for the 2017 tax year

The board reviewed the district’s proposed property tax rate of $1.32 per $100 valuation, a 2-cent decrease from the previous year, according to meeting documents.

Out of the $1.32 per $100 valuation, $1.06 will go to the school district’s maintenance and operations fund and 26 cents will go to the debt service fund, according to meeting documents.

By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


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