HISD officials celebrate improved accountability ratings from state

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - There was a celebratory mood Wednesday when Houston Independent School District officials announced they had received improved accountability ratings from the state.

Interim HISD Superintendent Grenita Lathan said during a news conference at Worthing High School that of the 284 campuses in the district, 251 of them received a “Met Standard” rating from the Texas Education Agency. Seven campuses received a rating of “Improvement Required,” Lathan said.

That number is the lowest number of “IR” campuses sine 2012, Lathan said.

LINK: Check the rating of any school or district

However, officials said 17 campuses were not rated because of damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey, and 15 of those campuses will remain on "IR" status from the prior year.

Harvey also kept the district as a whole from receiving a new A-to-F rating from the state, but HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said the district would have received a B grade, based on the data.

"Despite Harvey, despite lower funding, despite deficits, despite state sanctions,  despite all of the horrible things that happened we still would have been rated B ... but in my book, we're an A+," Skillern-Jones said. 

Skillern-Jones and District 9 Board Member Wanda Adams said the news makes a strong case for the appointment of Lathan as the district's permanent superintendent.

"I'm asking God to touch the heart of the naysayers that this will be the next superintendent of the Houston Independent School District," Adams said. 

Despite the district's success under the new ratings, HISD and other districts have expressed concerns abut the system. 

"We have concerns as it relates to utilizing one test one day in time one moment in time  to rate our schools because you don't know true story of a campus like Worthing," Lathan said. 

In a statement, Cypress Fairbanks ISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry said:

“Although we are pleased with the efforts of our staff and students during the 2017-2018 school year, we view the accountability rating as one small part of the education we provide students. A single letter grade minimizes the great accomplishments of our 117,000 students.”

In a post to their website, Fort Bend ISD wrote in part:

"We believe that the work of our students and teachers cannot truly be measured by performance on a standardized test, and oppose a state accountability system that gives a letter grade largely based on a single day’s performance."

Katy ISD released the following statement: 

While the current accountability system alone does not capture the full essence of students’ growth and educational experience in Katy ISD, we are pleased to have been represented with a districtwide 'A' rating.  It’s a testament to the hard work of our teachers, staff and community.

VIDEO: Officials talk about new TEA ratings

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