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GISD sets academic growth goals

Goals set for GJHS and Graham Elementary campuses

The Graham ISD school board set annual student growth goals for third grade math and reading assessments for 2020-2024, and annual goals for each student group as required under House Bill 3. The growth goals will be approved at a later board meeting and added to the approved Targeted Improvement Plans for each campus.

Region 9 Deputy Executive Director Micki Wesley said at the meeting Thursday the process is designed to keep school boards informed throughout the year on the progress of the campuses, so when STAAR results are received the board is not surprised by the results.

“It has to have a target, which is a future date, when you want to reach this goal, a population, which student group will be impacted and then a deadline and that deadline has to have a month and year,” she said.

The board set the annual student goal for all students in third grade reading and math to move from 42% as measured in the 2018-2019 school year to 60% by 2024 for Meets Grade Level or above. The goals the board is hoping to meet for third grade reading are 44% by 2020, 47% by 2021, 51% by 2022, 53% by 2023 and 60% by 2024. The goals the board is hoping to meet for third grade math are 45% by 2020, 48% by 2021, 52% by 2022, 56% by 2023 and 60% by 2024.

The required training with HB 3 is for campuses to set early childhood and literacy, math and College Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) goals, Wesley said.

“All of these plans that are new, required under the law now, have to have the following components: you have to have at least one district level administrator that is specifically designed to coordinate the implementation and submit annual reports around these goals you are going to be setting and your progress towards those goals, an annual review has to be done by the board at a public meeting, so that is another thing to add to your list that you will start having to do,” she said. “An annual report also has to be posted on your district and campus websites and your goals that you set.”

She said goals are required to be specific and quantifiable and have to be annual goals as well as contain a five-year target for each campus and district. The annual goals are based on aggregate student growth and are targeting third grade reading and math STAAR results.

“The annual targets for students have to be set for every student group you are evaluated in under the Closing the Gaps domain,” she said. “That third domain that really looked at all of your different student groups is tied directly to House Bill 3.”

The Texas Education Agency released the 2019 A-F state accountability ratings in August and Graham Junior High School received a 36 out of 100 in the Closing the Gaps domain and Graham Elementary School which include Woodland paired with Crestview Elementary School scored a 48 out of 100 in Closing the Gaps.

“It (Closing the Gaps) is that one that breaks it down by student groups, it is the one that caught every in school improvement this year,” she said. “It is that one that only starts with those kids that score at Meets Grade Level or above on the STAAR test. It actually measures 14 student groups.”

When students are evaluated in STAAR they can be given one of four labels: Does Not Meet Grade Level, Approaches Grade Level, Meets Grade Level or Masters Grade Level.

“Approaches just means that they mastered enough of the test to be promoted on to the next course or grade level, but that student has significant gaps in their learning,” she said. “That means when your teachers get kids in their classroom, like in fourth grade, and they only scored at the Approaches Grade Level in third grade, immediately those teachers know they need to put some accelerated instruction plans in place for that student because they are coming in with holes in their learning.”

There has to be 25 tests in each student group to be evaluated in each of the 14 student groups, and the state sets a target statewide goal which remains the same for five years, with the target being set two years ago, she said. Campuses are evaluated on how they meet each target.

The growth goals also target professional development for classroom teachers for bilingual education or special language programs.

“This bill requires that you have target professional development for teachers in kindergarten through third grade for campuses that the board identifies as not meeting the plan’s goals and that considers the unique needs of students in bilingual education programs or special language programs,” she said. “The annual targets may be set for students in bilingual or ESL programs, which you all have enough here at your district, so that’s going to be a requirement that you will have to meet.”

The 2019-2020 year serves as the first year for implementation for the new five-year growth goals, she said. The board set a 60% goal for 2024 to future-proof the campuses for to a plan called 60x30TX, which was developed in 2015.
“That was a plan that was developed a few years back with the Texas Coordinating Board of higher education and that plan for Texas just states that by the year 2030 that 60% of all Texans will have a postsecondary degree, an industry-based certification, something that they can support a family and truly make a living on,” she said.

Despite setting their goals at 60%, Wesley said making a difference in the reading score will be a challenge this year due to a number of new state implementations.

“Reading is in a unique situation this year because the standards changed so what is required to be taught at each grade level has changed recently,” she said. “The other thing that you are battling this year is that all of your reading teachers have new reading material, so your state adoption is new this year, so it takes teachers a little bit of time to become familiar with those resources and know if they are good or not, if they need to be supplemented, all of that stuff which is another frustrating point because, in my opinion, if you can buy it with state money it ought to meet the mark to begin with.”

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Nov. 20 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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