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WFISD Earns Superior Score on FIRST Rating

WFISD Earns Superior Score on FIRST Rating

WFISD Finances earn perfect 100 out of 100 in Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas; Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) Released


The Wichita Falls ISD administration presented new data on financial integrity and academic progress to the community and board members Monday in a 5:30 p.m. public hearing, which was immediately followed by the regularly scheduled Dec. 11 board meeting at 6 p.m.


Chief Financial Officer Tim Sherrod presented to board members the 15-point FIRST report, an annual summary of financial data based on the 2015-2016 school year. The FIRST system has created financial accountability for school districts since 2001 when the 77th Legislature enacted Senate Bill 218, which required its implementation.


This year, as in past years, WFISD earned a FIRST rating of “Passed.” The other possible rating is “F,” for Substandard achievement.


WFISD’s 2016-2017 rating, based on the 2015-2016 data, is A, or Superior, because its total score from the 15 indicators was a perfect 100. A Passing score is 60 and above.


Last year, WFISD also earned an A, or Superior, rating, with a passing score of 90.


The ratings system tracks WFISD compliance with a variety of financial reports and data, including a timing submission of its annual financial report, the details of its external independent auditor report, its timely payments to the Teachers Retirement System, the keeping of adequate cash on hand to cover operating expenses, and more.


The FIRST data was presented to community members Monday in a legally required public meeting.


Texas Academic Performance Report

Also, in the public hearing, Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths presented to board members the district’s annual Texas Academic Performance Report, or TAPR. The report assimilates the District’s data on STAAR performance and End of Course exams with similar comparison data from the state and region.


It also tracks student and employee data for the District.


The report is available online here.


WFISD earned a 2017 Accountability Rating of “Met Standard.”


Mr. Griffiths said he looks for trends in such data, particularly when comparing district scores with those made by students across the state.


One “solid trend,” he said, was that WFISD scores were below state scores, even in elementary grades. In the past, the District’s elementary scores were typically at or above state scores, he said.


WFISD also earned a 2017 Special Education Determination Status of “Needs Intervention,” flagging challenges in the District’s special education instruction.

“We knew special education was an issue,” said Mr. Griffiths. An early look at this data prompted the District to make many of the changes it made this year, such as bringing in the TEKS Resource System for teachers to use, he said.

“The trend is we will keep on working on special ed and high school,” said Mr. Griffiths.


“How do you use this and determine a course of action?” asked board member Elizabeth Yeager.


The data creates awareness, said Mr. Griffiths. Teachers are now using the TEKS Resource System to make their tests more rigorous and to help them determine when they need to reteach and retest.


“Our curriculum is an issue,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhrt. For the past six years, the District has improved its curriculum by assembling a group of teachers who have suggested specific adjustments.


“That wasn’t closing the gaps or filling the holes in the curriculum,” said Mr. Kuhrt. However, getting a “valid, rigorous system” like the TEKS Resource System has made a difference, he said.


“This data (from TAPR) is an autopsy,” he said. “It’s already done. It told us what we knew a year ago, so we made that change this summer.”


The District is currently doing a commendable job of monitoring and assessing its instructors. “We have a lot of thumbs on everyone,” said Mr. Griffiths.


The District’s large special education population may skew District data, since special ed students who once took alternative assessments geared to their disabilities must now take the same STAAR test everyone else their age takes – no matter their limitations, said Mr. Griffiths. Only 1 percent of the District’s large special ed population is eligible for the alternative assessment.


“We have 11,000 kids who test,” said Mr. Kuhrt. Only the most severely disabled children will fall into that 1 percent who will take the modified test adapted to their abilities. “Everyone else takes the regular STAAR test.”


However, administration must apply “tough love” to its teachers, said Mr. Griffiths. No one gets an asterisk by their class scores noting that they have a lot of special ed students, he said. They must find a way to reach everyone in their classrooms, special education students included.


Special education populations and the scores they make on STAAR tests hurt every district in the state. “The state wants us at 8 percent, and we’re at 12 percent,” said Shannon Kuhrt, WFISD assessment director.



In the regularly scheduled board meeting, board members congratulated several students who made special achievements.

  • The Board recognized Jalynn Bristow, a McNiel Middle School student, for being selected as the Grand Prize winner in the Save Texas History Essay Contest. The 7th grader’s essay was chosen from more than 350 submissions as the state’s best. She won a $500 grand prize and a Texas flag that was flown over seven historic Texas sites.
  • The Board recognized Janae Sanchez, a senior from Wichita Falls High School who is coached by Deborah Gonzales. She received TGCA and CCCAT Academic All-state honors and was named Academic All State Honorable Mention by THSCA for cross country. She received an overall grade point average of 94 or above for grades 9 through 11.
  • The Board recognized Meredith Fisher, a junior from Rider High School, who was one of 24 female athletes in Texas to receive All-Star Team honors for volleyball.
  • The Board recognized eight WFISD seniors as TGCA (Texas Girls Coaches Association) Volleyball Academic All-State Student Athletes.
    • Rider High School: Kameron Grace under Coach Alysha Humpert
    • Wichita Falls High School, under Coach Dakota Crockett:

Anissa Briones, Jasmine Davis, Ashland Hansen, Tagan Hansen, Kori Hopkins, Grace Laukhuf, Marivian Torres

  • The Board recognized the staff of Ben Milam Elementary for achieving Level 1 Certification in Marzano High Reliability Schools. With the help of Region 9 and the Priddy Foundation, the District currently has 14 campuses going through the process of earning different levels of certification.


Board of Trustee Continuing Education Training

WFISD board members are expected to complete required board training each year in Tier One, Tier Two and Tier Three sessions.


In a special report Monday, Mr. Kuhrt announced that all seven sitting board members have completed Tier One training requirements, including a recent Update to the Texas Education Code, and Tier Two training.


Several board members have also exceeded their requirements by taking more than the required number of Tier Three continuing education hours for 2017: Dale Harvey, Elizabeth Yeager, Bob Payton, Tom Bursey and Adam Groves.


Human Resources

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the proposed applicant pool submitted by Cyndy Kohl, director of Human Resources.


The board hired three teachers with a combined 10 years of experience. The new hires will teach at Kirby and Crockett.


Consent Agenda

Board members passed the Consent Agenda in a 7-0 vote. The Consent Agenda included:

  • Resale bids of property located within WFISD
  • Resale bids of property located at 810 Dallas and 812 Dallas
  • RFP 18-07 Electrical Supplies Vendors
  • RFP 18-08 Plumbing Supplies Vendors
  • RFP 18-09 Mobile Device Carts
  • National IPA Cooperative
  • Minutes
  • Personnel Report