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BISD earns “B” on state rating

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The Texas Education Agency’s 2018-19 A-F accountability ratings report graded Bandera Independent School District and its four schools along with more than 1,000 other school districts and their campuses based on graduation rates, SAT and ACT scores and other factors.

Bandera ISD again earned a score of “B” on the A-F scoring system for performance measures last year.

The results, which showed a slight improvement from the score the district earned last year, was reported to BISD trustees at their Sept. 9 meeting.

The district’s overall score was an 84, up from 81 a year earlier.

The score was a composite average of the totals the district recorded in three areas – student achievement showing what students know at the end of the year, student progress showing how performance has changed over time and how it compares with similar districts and “closing the gap,” which measures how well the district is narrowing the differences between low-performing and higher- performing groups in the district.

For the first time this year, individual campuses also received scores in addition to the school districts.

Bandera High School had the highest ranking in BISD with a score of a “B.” Both elementary schools in the district earned scores of a “C,” while Bandera Middle School’s performance came in at a “D” level.

The Bandera Bulletin asked BISD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth about his district’s score on the accountability system.

“A-F is a simple label for a very complex system”, he said.

“The academic accountability system has changed drastically over the past several years.

“Simply put, in years past, it was easier to get a higher score than on today’s system. While it may seem that our district has moved backward, in most cases, we’re doing better. It’s just that the measuring stick has changed.”

Hollingsworth said the district was given credit for having more students achieve a year of academic growth this year than in the prior year.

Hollingsworth said the middle school’s “D” rating was largely due to poor performance on the reading component of the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness test last year.

He explained that the campus also struggled with closing the achievement gap between student groups.

“When we don’t do well, we go to work. That is exactly what is happening throughout our district,” Hollingsworth said. “There’s no magic. We are focused on supporting teachers as they work in teams to make sure teachers understand the standards and that we know each student individually.”

Hollingsworth said while he feels that the district’s performance on the state assessment is important, it’s not “the end-all, be-all of how we should be measured.”

“We can always get better, and we are not satisfied until every child meets success. However, our success is much more than that,” Hollingsworth said. “We’re here to help children discover their God-given gifts and talents. That’s something we can never lose sight of.”

The Medina and Utopia school districts also received an overall score of a “B” on the newest assessment.

Medina Independent School District’s numeric score was an 81, up by 7 points from a year earlier, while Utopia ISD score was an 87 compared to an 85 a year earlier.