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Accountability Ratings Explained

Accountability Ratings Explained

24 campuses earn top “Met Standard;” 3 campuses get “Improvement Required”


Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski (left, standing) honored Wichita Falls  High School senior Vanessa Zurek (right, standing) for earning the honor of Outstanding Soloist for the 2016 Texas State Solo-Ensemble Contest, the highest honor the state bestows through its UIL Solo and Ensemble competition.

On Aug. 15, the Texas Education Agency released to the public the much-anticipated campus accountability ratings, and they were explained in full at the WFISD board meeting Monday night.


Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths presented the highlights of accountability ratings for WFISD’s 27 schools, noting that 24 achieved the highest “Met Standard” rating.


To meet standard, each of the 24 campuses earned or exceeded the target score set by the state in at least one of the first two categories -- Student Achievement and Student Progress -- and in both of the final two categories -- Closing Performance Gaps and Postsecondary Readiness.


The district itself also achieved the “Met Standard” accountability rating, outperforming the target scores in all four areas by as many as 17 points.


Three elementary campuses – Lamar, Scotland Park and Sheppard – got the good news that they were removed from all past school improvement requirements because this year they earned a “Met Standard” rating for the second consecutive year.



Sheppard Elementary not only met but exceeded the state’s targets by 14 to 30 points in each of the four categories.


Two “Improvement Required”

Two WFISD campuses retain the “Improvement Required” accountability rating, which is the lower of the state’s two possible rankings. Burgess Elementary met two of the four index requirements instead of at least three; Booker T. Washington Elementary (formerly Washington/Jackson Elementary) met one index, exceeding it by 11 points, but failed to meet the other three targets.


These two schools showed improvement, but “to jump a high bar, they must move up in increments because they were so low to begin with,” said Mr. Griffiths.


The state also added Kirby Middle School to the list of the district’s schools rated “Improvement Required.” This was not a surprise, said Mr. Griffiths. The five elementary campuses – the three recently released from school improvement requirements and the two campuses that remain “Improvement Required” – all feed into Kirby Middle School.


However, Kirby’s performance was surprisingly strong despite that, said Mr. Griffiths. The misses were small, he said. The school missed its target performance score by one point in each of two categories, then exceeded the target score of another by 10 points, but missed the fourth by only six points.


Plan moving forward

Mr. Griffiths outlined the District’s aggressive action plan. The District will interview Professional Service Providers to work with Burgess, Booker T. Washington and Kirby staffs. These are the Texas Education Agency liaisons that assist struggling schools.


Debbie Dipprey, the new district coordinator of school improvement, will lead the remediation training. Mrs. Dipprey is experienced with the process, since she successfully led her former campus out of the same status. These professionals will pinpoint learning trends that emerge from data analysis and then work to bolster the culture of student learning, said Mr. Griffiths.


Funding has also been set aside to provide additional training support for the three campuses. During the summer, staff members participated in a training called Capturing Kids’ Hearts, which focused on building relationships between parents and the school staff. “This is probably the missing piece,” said Superintendent Mike Kuhrt.


The District has also provided Kirby Middle School with funds to build up its International Baccalaureate training for teachers.


The District plans to draw on outside community support to boost school performance, said Mr. Griffiths.


“What does the community involvement look like?” asked board member Bob Payton.


The District is championing an East Side summer reading program for the second consecutive year, said Mr. Griffiths. Another Saturday event called, “Reading is Power,” also involves the community. Everyone involved agrees that “it takes a village,” said Mr. Griffiths.


Efforts to draw the community into the learning process last year fell flat. “We’ve tried the last two years and not had good results,” said Mr. Kuhrt.


The District is also collaborating with local Hispanic leaders and with Region 9 Education Center to get more literacy assistance, he said.


The District hired an interventionist to work with students at Burgess and Booker T. Washington schools. This student coach will help children primarily with early reading strategies in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades one and two.


“You can call on us and let us know and let the rest of the community know what we can do,” said board member Elizabeth Yeager.


Board members requested updates, which Mr. Griffiths said will come quarterly. He also said each school will make a presentation about its plans that will keep board members abreast of school progress.


Board members expressed concern and a desire to help. “It’s paramount that it gets fixed,” said Mr. Payton.


Food Service Dish Machine Chemicals, cleaning supplies

In a 6-0 vote, board members approved the recommendation to award a one-year bid of Food Service Dish Machine Chemicals and Cleaning Supplies to EcoLab Inc., of St. Paul, MN for an annual cost of $47,430, and to Empire Paper of Wichita Falls, for an annual total of $3,455.


Applicant Pool

Board members approved the proposed applicant pool in a 6-0 vote. The District hired nine new teachers with a total of 21 years experience. Board members also approved one contract change.


Order of Election for Nov. 8, 2016

WFISD will work with Wichita County and the City of Wichita Falls for its joint election planned for Nov. 8.


In a 6-0 vote, board members approved the order of election for the purpose of electing school trustees to Place 2 and Place 4. These will serve a four-year term each.


Those elected to Place 3 and Place 5 will serve a two-year term each.


Early voting begins Oct. 24; ballots can be cast at the Wichita County Courthouse at 900 7th Street in Room 139; at Home Depot at 3705 Kell Boulevard, and at Sikes Senter Mall at 3111 Midwestern Parkway.


Budget Planning

The final version of WFISD’s 2016-2017 budget will be ready soon, according to Mr. Kuhrt. The board will receive a final presentation and then give a public hearing to present all details.


“We like our numbers,” said Mr. Kuhrt. “We are pretty confident we can carry out what we need to do. It’s conservative in nature as long as we have about the same number of students as we had last year.”


If enrollment rises, that will be a bonus, he said.



Consent Agenda

In other business, board members voted 6-0 to pass the Consent Agenda, which included:

·      Personnel report

·      2016-2017 Appraisal Calendar

·      2016-2017 T-TESS Appraisers

·      2016-2017 T-TESS Appraisers Pending AEL Training

·      Resolution on Tax Trust Properties 806 and 808 Dallas Street

·      Resolution on Tax Trust Properties 713 Marconi, 1917 Perigo, and 307 Patterson

·      Financial Reports as of June 30, 2016

·      Catalog bids for office supplies; science supplies; teaching/instructional supplies; trophies, awards and plaques; athletic supplies and equipment, and P.E. supplies.

·      Fundraiser Vendors RFP #16-55

·      Auto and Crime Insurance

·      Minutes


Outstanding soloist

Fine Arts Director Kelly Strenski honored Vanessa Zurek, a Wichita Falls High School senior, for being named Outstanding Soloist for the 2016 Texas State Solo-Ensemble Contest.


This is the highest honor the state bestows through its UIL Solo and Ensemble. “It is the equivalent of winning a state championship,” said Ms. Strenski. Even though 100,000 students compete in the regional Solo-Ensemble, and 25,000 compete at the state level in Austin, only 300 earn this honor.


Miss Zurek is the daughter of Torstin and Kerstin Zurek. She continues to be an active choral student under WFHS’s Chris Jarvis and a member of the Big Red Band.


In the spirit of the Rio Olympic Games currently underway in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Mr. Jarvis put a gold medal around Miss Zurek’s neck.