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Deer Park ISD gets 86 in new state accountability system

August 24, 2018

Because of a waiver due to Hurricane Harvey, Deer Park ISD did not get an official letter-grade rating through a new state accountability system, but the district did receive a unofficial overall number score of 86 out of 100, with the district’s 14 campuses faring well overall on individual scores at the campus level.

The top ranking schools were five campuses that scored 90 or above on a zero-to-100 scale: Deer Park, Fairmont and San Jacinto elementary schools and Deer Park and Fairmont junior high schools.

The bottom five scoring campuses are: Bonnette Junior High with a score of 75; The Early Childhood Center and Deepwater and Parkwood elementary schools each with 77; and JP Dabbs Elementary with 78.

The remaining campuses scored between 80 to 89, with High Point School being exempt from the rating due its jurisdiction under Harris County Department of Education.

The Texas Education Agency released the number scores — with a score below 60 indicating what would constitute a failure to pass — to exempted school districts such as Deer Park to give the public an indication of their performance. Throughout the state, unofficial number scores were also issued for individual campuses, which won’t get letter grades until 2019.

The letter-grade system, a new approach for TEA that stems from a 2017 law, has met with strong protests from school district officials around the state who say the scores rely too heavily on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness testing results.

Deer Park ISD will receive its first official letter grade in the A-through-F system in 2019 after the Hurricane Harvey exemption is lifted.

The three domains used to come up with the district’s overall score of 86 are student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.

The total student enrollment in the district for the 2017-18 school year was 12,904, with 46 percent classified as economically disadvantaged.

Some Texas school districts have criticized the new letter-grade system saying the scores rely too heavily on STAAR test results and penalizes schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said the new grading formulas address concerns about economically disadvantaged students by taking the highest of three metrics, including one comparing academic performance relative to poverty rates, to combine with a measure tied to closing achievement gaps between demographic groups. Those two measures are used calculate schools and districts scale scores that range from zero to 100.

Dax Gonzalez, governmental relations division director for the Texas Association of School Boards, said other measures of the rating data show a “pretty significant drop” in scale scores for schools that serve higher rates of economically disadvantaged students.

Deer Park ISD, in which Hispanic students made up 57 percent of enrollment, received an A grade for the state’s financial accountability rating score. The score through the the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas measures the quality of districts’ financial management practices, according to texasschools.org, the website set up by the TEA to provide public access to the scoring system.

jaimy.jones@chron.com

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