NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nearly 94 percent of public school districts in Texas have met minimum education standards. Nacogdoches ISD is not one of them.
The results were made public today by the Texas Education Agency. Districts got the tabulations on Friday. After studying the ratings over the weekend, Nacogdoches ISD's interim superintendent told East Texas the plan for district-wide improvement.
It was another disappointment for interim Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Sandra Dowdy. The district, as a whole, did not meet the minimum state index target of 60.
"We missed it by two points of making it this year," Dowdy said.
Now for the first time in at least two years, the district has another "Improvement Required" rating from the Texas Education Agency. Last year Emeline Carpenter, TJR, and Fredonia elementary campuses were given the unfavorable rating. It didn't come as a surprise to Dowdy.
"No, not in one year. We've got to continue to make progress, and I feel like with the curriculum changes we made and the focus we're putting on academics and especially reading, you're going to see changes in scores next year," Dowdy said.
Teachers are charged with closing performance gaps. It's a big order for third-grade math teacher Brooke Taylor-Johnson. Even so, this first year teacher has no reservations about being placed at an improvement required school.
"No not at all. I actually wanted to come to Carpenter for that reason," Taylor said. Being from Nacogdoches I have a heart for the children in this area, disadvantaged neighborhood, or whatever you want to call it."
Carpenter is the only school in the district that failed to prepare students for post-secondary readiness. James Adams, Carpenter's principal, said it's his fight to improve ratings.
"The only way we are going to get out of IR is to teach our way out of it," Adams said. "There's no program or anything else that's going to get us out."
Dowdy contends eliminating positions will allow additional tax dollars to go directly to the classroom. The latest target is the politicized Malcolm Rector Technical High School. It's director position was dissolved on Friday.
Student progress index was achieved by Nacogdoches ISD and all the schools within the district.
As far as the other eight schools districts in Nacogdoches County, they all exceeded the state minimum requirements.
Another East Texas School is making a few changes after Monday's accountability ratings showed they did meet standards.
The Pineywoods Community Academy as a whole met standard, as well as, the elementary campus in the state accountability system.
However, its high school missed standard by one point in Index 3. PCA's superintendent said changes are being made to ensure this won't happen again.
"Some interventions that we're putting in place this year we're really excited about, we feel this is a onetime occurrence that's not going to happen anymore," Pineywoods Community Academy superintendent, Bruce Marchand said.
The school has added three new staff positions to help students in their core academic subjects. They also additional teacher to teach secondary reading and math interventions.
Here is an interesting sidebar. Next year the state will shift to an A thru F letter grade accountability system. Links to the accountablity reports can be here.
The Texas Education Agency announced the results Monday. It has frequently overhauled ratings systems lately to ensure low failure rates, meaning this year's results are only fully comparable to the last three years'.
In 2015, nearly 95 percent of school districts met minimum state standards and about 87 percent of schools did. The previous year, it was 90 percent of districts and 85 percent of schools.
Critics complain that Texas has watered down its accountability rating to near meaninglessness. Starting next academic year, though, the state will begin rating schools and districts with a system that includes controversial Fs.
The following East Texas district campuses received improvement required ratings:
* Pineywoods Community Academy in Lufkin
* Emeline Carpenter Elementary in Nacogdoches
* Corrigan-Camden High School
* Corrigan-Camden Elementary
* Corrigan-Camden Primary
* Livingston High Academy
* Lansberry Elementary in Trinity
* Woodville Elementary
* Woodville Intermediate
* San Augustine High (two consecutive years)
* Broaddus Elementary (two consecutive years)
* Grapeland Junior High (three consecutive years)
* Fredonia Elementary in Nacogdoches (four consecutive years)
* Emeline Carpenter Intermediate in Nacogdoches (five consecutive years)
* Thomas J. Rusk Academy of Fine Arts (five consecutive years)
For more information on the TEA's accountability ratings for school districts in your area, click this link.