EDINBURG — School districts across South Texas are celebrating the results of state ratings for last year.
Region One Education Services Center board of directors, leadership and local superintendents gathered Thursday morning to discuss the evaluations of districts in the area, which received top marks in the second year since the rating system was implemented.
This state accountability system recognizes the performance of each school district in Texas, scoring them like a report card. It assigns districts and campuses grades ranging from A through F. An A represents exemplary performance, B is recognized, C is acceptable, D is in need of improvement and an F is unacceptable performance.
“We’re amazed at the excellent results that were obtained by every school district and charter school in Region One,” Cornelio Gonzalez, Region One ESC executive director, said. “This is the first time in the history of Region One that all our school districts (and) charter schools were high performing. We have had in many years, 100% of the districts meeting the minimum standards, but this time we had 100% of our districts and charter schools earning high performing standards.”
Willacy, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Jim Hogg, Zapata and Webb counties are all a part of Region One which is outperforming other regions in various categories.
Eduardo Cancino, deputy director of instructional leadership, presented the student performance results and background of the accountability system.
All districts in the area either received an A or a B, showing an improvement from last year’s results. The region has 100% high performing districts with either A or B ratings, as opposed to the state average, which is 81%.
Region 11 in the Fort Worth area followed behind with 80%, Region 20 in San Antonio had 72%, and Region 13 in Austin had 69%.
There are three domains in the state accountability system, including student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps. The first two domains weigh 70% of the rating and closing the gaps is always factored for the remaining 30%.
Region One performs higher than state averages overall and in each of the three domains, according to the presentation.
In Region One, 99.4% of 616 campuses met state standards and only four campuses did not, Cancino said, adding that the region will assist and support those campuses.
Nine traditional school districts and one open-enrollment charter school earned the “exemplary performance” or an A for the 2018-19 state accountability system in Region One.
All of these districts that received an A are from the Rio Grande Valley, with the exception of United Independent School District, which is located in Webb County.
In Hidalgo County, McAllen, Valley View and Sharyland school districts along with Vanguard Academy, an open-enrollment charter, all received an A following the recently released results. Roma received the sole A in Starr County in the state accountability report. South Texas ISD, Los Fresnos, Brownsville school districts in Cameron County and San Perlita in Willacy County also achieved the top rating.
There are seven campus distinctions for outstanding achievements, with 85% of Region One eligible campuses earning one or more distinctions by ESC. Region 19 in El Paso trailed behind with 76%.
Twelve districts in Region One earned a postsecondary readiness distinction, which sums up to about 30% of the region’s districts, among the highest in the state. There are over 1,200 school districts and charters in Texas, with five school districts in the state earning the postsecondary readiness distinction consecutively for the past six years. Three are in Region One: Los Fresnos, Sharyland and South Texas.
Plaques were awarded to superintendents from high-performing districts with administrators and board members congratulating each other on their success.
Gonzalez noted that the collaboration and communication between superintendents in the area led to the high marks. Although they compete with each other, there is a “friendly competition” to grow and succeed, he said.
“I believe the reason they were able to generate (these) excellent results is because, in Region One there’s a lot of collaboration, we have great leaders in every district, and they collaborate with each other, they help each other,” Gonzalez said.
School districts could earn up to 100 points with the state accountability system. Valley View ISD increased from 93 to 95, scoring an A twice in a row.
“The next step is to try and improve on that 95, to try to maintain it and if not do better, open more programs for our students, give them the same opportunities that any student has elsewhere, so that’s what we’re striving for,” Valley View ISD Superintendent Rolando Ramirez said
Sharyland ISD was another high performing school district, earning an A and a post-secondary readiness distinction.
Superintendents for both districts said staff, along with collaboration, is key in preparing for next year. Sharyland ISD Superintendent Maria Vidaurri said that although the district did well overall, leadership looked at areas where they can improve through meeting and receiving feedback from teachers and staff to do so.
“We’ve already reconvened and are ready to hit this year running,” she said.