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TEA sets accountability waivers for northwest Houston schools

August 8, 2018

When the Texas Education Agency released the list of districts and campuses eligible for academic accountability waivers this year due to Hurricane Harvey, the northwest Houston school districts were split: two were on the list, two were not.

Eligible districts are to be exempt from an “improvement required” rating if they meet a certain criteria put forth by the TEA. If they score below an “A” grade, they will be labeled as “not rated.”

Similarly, eligible campuses can be labeled as “not rated” if they initially receive an “improvement required” rating based on available data.

Since Spring ISD as a whole was closed for at least 10 instructional days, each of the district’s 39 campuses gets a pass if necessary.

Jennifer Cobb, Spring ISD’s assistant superintendent for research, accountability and testing said she anticipates all campuses to receive a “not rated” designation.

“The impact of Harvey is still being felt for students, campuses and staff…The long-term mental impact of the storm is really unknown, but we anticipate for some it will be a long, hard road to full recovery,” Cobb said of the district.

Cy-Fair ISD had 38 of its 84 campuses eligible for the waiver, but for a different reason.

They met the criteria because at least 10 percent of their teachers experienced homelessness after Harvey, according to Linda Macias, Cy-Fair ISD’s associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and accountability.

Macias said that despite the disaster, the district remained focused on the students.

“Accountability systems change, but we stayed focused on the state standard and making sure our students are learning—monitoring that. In Cy-Fair, we didn’t worry about the waiver. We made sure we focused on students’ needs and any gaps they had,” Macias said.

Macias said she anticipates the district will receive a “B” rating and for all of the campuses to meet the standard this year.

Northwest Houston area Tomball and Klein ISDs were determined by the TEA to be ineligible for rating waivers.

As previously reported by the Chronicle, the TEA uses academic accountability ratings for gauging district and campus quality.

Official ratings are to be released Aug. 13.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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