Five Bell County school districts saw letter grade increases while three other districts maintained their previous grades in their latest accountability ratings, according to data released Thursday by the Texas Education Agency.
Troy, Rogers and Holland ISDs earned As — improving on their B grades from 2018. Temple and Killeen ISDs earned Bs — jumping a letter grade from their C ratings from last year. Belton, Salado and Academy ISDs held steady with Bs.
Buckholts Independent School District, located in Milam County, saw major improvement after facing closure two years ago. Last year, the small district of 131 students met standards, scoring 77 out of 100. This year, though, they earned an A, with 90 out of 100.
The A-F accountability rating system debuted last year, with districts receiving a letter grade.
This year, though, the system was fully implemented, with districts and individual campuses receiving letter grades.
“Rogers ISD is very excited to have earned an A in the state accountability ratings,” Superintendent Joe Craig said. “The 10-point increase from last year was earned through the hard work of our teachers, students, administrators, curriculum team, support staff and parents.”
Troy ISD Superintendent Neil Jeter, who has qualms about the accountability system, said his district will celebrate its success.
“We are very proud of the hard work of our students, the strong support of their families, and the impassioned dedication of our staff that led to outstanding results,” he said.
Temple. Belton expected Bs
Both Temple and Belton ISDs expected these ratings after evaluating preliminary data.
Temple ISD saw an 8 point jump for a score of 81 out of 100. Last year, the district scored 73 out of 100.
“As a school system, our goal from year-to-year is to demonstrate growth because we want a child’s educational experience to improve over time,” Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said. “Although pleased with our academic gains as a district, a B rating is a very myopic view of what truly takes place in schools.”
Although Belton ISD’s overall letter grade stayed the same, it did gain 5 points for a score of 88 out of 100. Last year, Belton ISD scored 83 out of 100.
“While pleased with an increased score and our overall success under this new system as evidenced by more than 25 percent of our students scoring at the ‘mastery’ level or higher, I want parents and the community to recognize and understand that the scores and rating don’t accurately paint a picture of the quality of our schools and the breadth and depth of teaching and learning experiences that public schools provide for children,” Belton ISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon said in a statement.
Rating system draws criticism
Superintendents across Bell County criticized the A-F accountability system.
“These ratings are based merely on selected content area tests taken on one day of the school year,” Kincannon said. “They are designed to be only one measure of success, and should be seen for no more than just that.”
Ott echoed his Belton counterpart.
“It is impossible for a single letter to measure the overall quality of education we provide in Temple,” he said. “A strong indicator of a school system’s health can best be measured by tracking individual student success against their maximum potential. The A-F system falls short because this type of metric cannot be generalized across a few content area exams.”
Although Troy ISD received an A, Jeter described the accountability system as “inadequate.”
“Accountability is important, but measuring school accountability is very complex,” Jeter said. “The current system is inadequate because it oversimplifies accountability to a letter grade of A through F. Still, Troy ISD will strive to provide the best possible education for our students and celebrate all their successes.”
Temple, Belton campus ratings
Along with the overall district rating, TEA announced individual campus ratings Thursday.
Temple ISD has 14 main campuses. None received an A.
Temple High School, Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy, Jefferson Elementary, Western Hills Elementary, Raye-Allen Elementary, Kennedy-Powell Elementary and Hector P. Garcia Elementary all got B ratings.
Fred W. Edwards Academy, Bonham Middle School, Cater Elementary and Scott Elementary received a C.
Lamar Middle School, Travis Science Academy and Thornton Elementary received a D.
There are 15 campuses in Belton ISD. Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow and Lakewood Elementary received an A.
Belton High School, North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary, Pirtle Elementary, Tarver Elementary, High Point Elementary and Belton Early Childhood School all got a B.
Lake Belton Middle School, South Belton Middle School, Leon Heights Elementary, Miller Heights Elementary and Chisholm Trail Elementary received a C. Southwest Elementary got a D.
TO LEARN MORE
Visit txschools.gov to dive deeper into this year’s accountability ratings and compare your child’s school to others across the state.