Texas Education Agency gives HISD a passing grade

HOUSTON — School hasn't started for the Houston ISD, but report cards are already out! According to the state, HISD made a passing grade!

District officials were nervous, but HISD will avoid major state sanctions. Four at-risk schools met academic standards after repeatedly receiving "Improvement Required" by the Texas Education Agency.  If just one of the four had gotten another IR rating, the TEA would have taken over the district.

Worthing High School improved the most after getting a failing grade six years straight.

"We know that we have some work to do to build more trust and support from our community," HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said. "But the numbers show that HISD is shifting course and turning schools around."

The state's largest district has 284 schools and 251 received a "Met Standard" rating. That's 91%.  Seven schools got an IR, which is the lowest since 2012.

The TEA is implementing a new accountability rating. It's supposed to reward student progress and performance relative to poverty. Like homework, schools will be graded from A to F.

"Superintendents that disagree with this rating system do so because they love kids and the way that they analyze performance is somewhat different," TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said.

This new scale was waived for HISD because of hurricane Harvey.  "We're not rated this year," HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. "But I want you to know, if we were, our data would have given us a B rating this year."

Seventeen campuses weren't rated at all because of Harvey, 15 will remain on IR status from last year.

"Of course, we need to make sure students are reading at or above grade level," Lathan said.  "We have additional supports, reading intervention, librarians, we have tutorial services available. Also, district-wide this year we've added dyslexia specialists who will work with all of our campuses."

Sounds like a good lesson plan!

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