Lavaca County superintendents: A-F rating system unfair

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Jan. 6, 2017 at 4 a.m.
Updated Jan. 7, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Superintendents in Lavaca County don't have a lot of faith in the new A-F rating system.

They didn't have a lot of faith in the rating system the A-F rating system is slated to replace, either.

"I don't prefer any of them," Shiner Superintendent Trey Lawrence said Friday. "We've gone testing crazy in the state of Texas."

The smaller districts in Lavaca County earned some A's in the four categories they received a letter grade in: student achievement, student progress, closing the gaps and post-secondary readiness. But the bigger districts did not fare as well.

Shiner

The closing the achievement gap category is based on how economically disadvantaged children score on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, STAAR, Lawrence said.

Shiner High School earned a letter grade of D for that category. About 25 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged.

Lawrence said the district will focus more on reaching those students, but he doesn't yet know how.

"The scores came out two days ago," he said, adding an in-service day is coming up. "My principals have already started cutting this up nine ways to Sunday. They'll dive into this headfirst. It is what it is."

Yoakum

Yoakum Superintendent Tom Kelly plans to ask the school board Monday to adopt a resolution to submit for the 85th Texas Legislature.

The resolution would call for the repeal of the A-F rating system.

Yoakum's schools earned mostly D's and F's. The district earned an letter grade of F for post-secondary readiness, which is calculated by looking at attendance at the elementary and middle school-level and the graduation rate at the high school-level.

"All of our campuses and the district met the state standards for the 2015-2016 school year, and we will continue to focus on student growth in all areas, not just on one standardized test that provides little meaningful information to guide student learning," Kelly wrote in a news release Friday.

He later added the A-F rating system doesn't just provide little meaningful information, it is an inaccurate reflection of Yoakum's schools.

"Our schools are much more than one test, and our students are so much more than one score," he wrote.

Vysehrad

Vysehrad Superintendent Jason Appelt said the district won't make any major changes as a result of the A-F ratings published Friday.

"We're going to do the same thing we did last year. Provide extra assistance to those kids who need it. Teachers are going to teach. Kids are going to come to school, and everybody will do their part," said Appelt, who also serves as the principal and teaches athletics to grade levels 5 through 8. The district has 113 students. Only three have English as a second language.

Even though Vysehrad did well, Appelt also did not have faith in the A-F rating system.

"The post-secondary readiness category is based on attendance. To me, that's not really an indicator on post-secondary readiness," he said.

Others

Officials at Ezzell, Moulton and Sweet Home school districts could not be reached for comment Friday.

Hallettsville ISD's Curriculum Director Mandy Bucek stressed via email that the A-F rating system was a preliminary, work-in-progress accountability rating system. Hallettsville ISD earned Cs and Ds.

"According to Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, 'No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015-16 school year should be drawn from these ratings.'"

To search for your campus or district scores go here.


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