On Friday, we expect the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to publicly release preliminary letter grades based on the 2015-16 school year performance. It has come to our attention, however, that another source released the information today. Over the last few months, we have continued to discuss this new system with our community and Board of Trustees, as we have anticipated this first phase of implementation of the new A-F Accountability System, which will not take effect until 2018.
Our Board of Trustees passed a resolution calling for state legislators to repeal the new system because the majority (55 percent) of the A through F grades will be based on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), a high-stakes, standardized test that does not accurately measure student learning. There are also concerns about how the grades in each domain will be calculated. In short, I would say that, on the surface, letter grades seem relatively simple. But the calculations behind them are not – they are complex and difficult to understand.
The preliminary grades published Friday will include A-F ratings in four of five new domains, and no overall grades. In information provided to districts in December, TEA noted that the targets used to determine the preliminary January 2017 ratings are subject to change, and the final targets are scheduled to be adopted in the Texas Administrative Code in spring 2018.
This afternoon, we are sharing a news release in anticipation of the TEA’s public release, and I am sharing the release with you to keep you informed. The new year is off to a great start due to the outstanding educators that serve our students each day. On Monday, in a staff email, I reiterated my belief that this new accountability system is not appropriate and that we will not be using the letter grades issued by TEA to plan or guide our work in FBISD. I also shared the following:
For over three years now, we have been dedicated to continuous improvement because we are committed to ensuring each student achieves his or her full potential. You have been working hard to improve practices around teaching and learning, and I am proud of the results we are achieving. Each school in FBISD has made significant progress, and we will continue to do our best for our students each and every day regardless of how the state chooses to measure and report student performance.
Just as I shared with staff, I want to also assure you that, in FBISD, our mission is not changing – neither the current or future state accountability system will cause us to change our focus on meeting the needs of each unique student in FBISD. We know it is incumbent upon us to inspire and equip our students for futures beyond what they can imagine.
I appreciate your continued partnership and support.