Georgetown ISD board hears update on school accountability

During Monday’s Georgetown ISD school board meeting, trustees heard updates on the new state accountability guidelines and how the district will accomodate the new system.

Melissa Holt, GISD's executive director for curriculum, informed the board of updates surrounding the implementation of House Bill 22, which passed during the 2017 Texas legislative session. HB 22 piggybacks on a plan lawmakers approved during the 2015 session that set in motion the grading of Texas schools on an A-F basis.

The revision reduces the number of letter grades given to schools from five to three, and requires students' State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, scores to account for less than 50 percent of accountability metrics at the high school level. The revamped system measures student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps between students.

The Texas Education Agency released the first draft of statewide district and school accountability ratings using the A-F rating system in January. Although GISD met the standard overall, several schools received unsatisfactory ratings. The district as a whole received ratings in the five categories, called domains, ranging from C to D. Days later, the board of trustee joined school boards statewide in approving a resolution calling on the Texas legislature to repeal the new A-F rating system.

The domains and other aspects of the grading system are still likely to change within the next few years, Holt said. The state has asked districts to provide feedback to help make those adjustments.

In May, GISD district officials hosted three summits to collect community input on what values and skills community members hope to see from students in the district. Traits such as the ability to overcome adversity, having critical thinking skills, and knowing how to communicate and collaborate were highly rated in community surveys, spokesperson Suzanne Marchman said.

By the end of fall, district officials plan to hold two more summits and give community members an opportunity to share their opinions online.

One thing that is yet to be finalized, Holt said, is the methodology the state will use to come up with some of the domains to grade schools. The rules for the three domain systems should be complete by spring 2018, she said. If the district follows the timeline set out by the state, the A-F labels will officially take effect in August 2019.