Calhoun County ISD gets a TEA review

By by Dianna Wray
Jan. 23, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2011 at 7:23 p.m.

The Texas Education Association is coming to Calhoun County Independent School District.

Every year the TEA does a review of each program in the state, rating the program based on 13 indicators, including low grades, low attendance and TAKS scores.

The programs are then rated from one to four, with four being worst.

CCISD's Bilingual/ESL program was rated a "one" last year. This year, they got a "four," and the TEA scheduled an onsite review beginning Monday.

TEA representatives from the auditor's office of the state agency will spend three days in the school district reviewing the school district's Bilingual/ESL program, TEA senior manager of program monitoring and divisions Ted Kerr said.

CCISD's Bilingual/ESL program serves about 400 students in the district.

TEA onsite reviews aren't to be taken lightly. If a school district falls under review for a program and fails to improve in the next few years, the agency has the power to put in a state monitor of the program, and that person would have a great amount of power over the program, Kerr said.

If a program failed to improve after that, a school district's accreditation could be endangered, Kerr said.

However, he cautioned that this was highly unlikely in CCISD's case.

Bilingual/ESL programs across the state have been steadily improving over the past few years, Kerr said, so the bar is being raised each year.

"It's more a matter of stricter standards. If your performance gets even a little worse or simply doesn't improve in that type of setting you're likely to end up on the list," Kerr said.

CCISD district employees have been preparing for the audit since being informed they would have one in early January.

CCISD director of curriculum and instruction Deborah Swope said they have been working to examine the program more closely, to try to understand where they have been falling short.

They are eager to find ways to improve the program, Swope said.

"We're not necessarily looking forward to it, but we're ready to learn from it," Swope said

Just going through this process has helped them identify ways to improve the program, Swope said. She said they are prepared to learn everything they can from the auditing process.

The auditors will be in town Monday through Wednesday. During the auditing process, they'll interview the superintendent, tour schools, sit in on classes and talk to teachers and students to get a thorough understanding of how well program requirements are being met.

TEA auditors will also meet with parents to get feedback from them on the program at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Jackson-Roosevelt Elementary, 1215 Jackson St. Port Lavaca.

Swope said they are determined to learn and improve from the review.

"We're going to get there, and we think TEA is going to help," Swope said



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