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Superintendent Message (Aug. 7, 2015)

State Accountability Ratings

Aug. 7, 2015

Dear SAISD Staff,

Today, the Texas Education Agency will issue preliminary accountability ratings for school districts and campuses. Our District Met Standard, as did 74 of our schools. Nineteen of our schools received the Improvement Required rating − more than received that rating last year and a number that underscores the need for the aggressive efforts underway to redefine excellence in SAISD.

These results are why we have been working so hard this summer on very proactive efforts to raise academic achievement. We have set aggressive 5-year goals to improve student performance across the board, with progress expected to be seen in this coming school year. While we want to ensure that all of our schools meet accountability standards in the future, our focus is not on meeting the minimum standards, but rather on developing high-performing students.

These ratings do not reflect where we want to be as a district. They are evidence of the need for the continued collaboration that began this summer. Last month, we held a six-day Leadership Summit with all principals to lay out the vision and improvement plan and how they can begin to develop their specific campus plans, based on the District goals. This week, teams at every campus met, which included principals, teacher leaders and support staff, to develop their school’s Year One plans for meeting the goals. 

But it’s not just the school administration and faculty that will make it happen. It’s going to involve identifying and prioritizing needs, evaluating programs and all departments working together to provide support to the schools. The ultimate goal is to graduate students who are well-prepared to enter post-secondary education and to succeed once they get there.

For the class of 2014, the graduation rate was 80.8 percent. Though that is lower than the rate of the previous year, it’s a significant increase from 2007, when the graduation rate was 60.5 percent. That increase was achieved through multiple years of steady progress.

Over the next five years, high expectations will drive our every action, as we focus on meeting rigorous self-imposed standards that exceed those set by outside agencies. I believe we are ready to heighten our expectations, thanks to the groundwork laid by previous administrations.

Incremental progress has put us in a position to set aggressive goals that will result in a high-quality education for every SAISD student. I am confident that, together, we will get there, but in the meantime, we don’t want to overlook the notable performance that is taking place at a number of SAISD schools.

Today’s ratings also highlight 43 schools earning one or more Distinction Designations. And three of the schools earned all possible designations: The Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Barkley-Ruiz Elementary School and Highland Hills Elementary School. We can be proud of those schools and their accomplishments.