With the pandemic forcing school closures, education adjusted. Educators adapted. Students and their families adapted. Then George Floyd, who was raised in Houston, was murdered in another instance of police brutality against black people. Our nation and the world responded to this latest instance of systemic racism with historic protests.
On this National Day of Mourning, let’s be forthright. This has been a hard couple of weeks to try to go on with business as usual for us on staff at Texas OnCourse. We mourn with you, with the nation, and with the world over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who may never be named. George Floyd was raised in Houston. Maybe you knew him. Maybe you taught him. Maybe he was your neighbor, your relative, your student’s relative. Maybe you or your students knew Mike Ramos, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean. Maybe this experience is dredging up past memories and traumas. We recognize that this is a difficult week for you, during a difficult year. We are deeply saddened, we are angry, we worry for the future of all our black and brown children. But we also have hope.
COVID-19 has required school administrators to implement necessary school closures and remote learning. In fact, all educators – principals, counselors, and teachers alike – are redefining their roles. With so many new needs from the field, the Texas Education Agency has responded swiftly with extensive guidance and updates. In this edition of the Strategist, we highlight several such items that are important for school leaders.
Due to COVID-19, TEA has cancelled STAAR testing for the remainder of the school year and adjusted our state’s A–F Accountability System. For the 2019–20 school year, TEA proposes to label all districts and campuses Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster. College, career, and military readiness data will be reported only on TEA reports such as Texas Academic Performance Reports. It will not be used in ratings calculations for the 2019–2020 school year.
In just one month, we have shifted from an accountability mindset to focus on student equity and access to remote learning opportunities. Below we highlight some of the key changes that will undoubtedly impact the decisions you make as an administrator through the rest of the 2019–2020 school year.
You’ve likely seen the changes to the August 2020 accountability ratings, but in case you missed it, formal ratings for all Texas school districts will be labeled “not-rated” due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 emergency. College, career, and military readiness data will be reported only on TEA reports such as Texas Academic Performance Reports. It will not be used in ratings calculations for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Snapshot.” This word means so much more than a carefully crafted Instagram photo with a wrinkle-reducing filter. On October 25, 2019, districts across Texas will hold their breath as data is extracted from PEIMS (Public Education Information Management Systems) that will ultimately determine their A–F accountability rating in the form of a snapshot showing “everything as it is today."
Across the state, administrators are learning more about the intricacies of the A-F Accountability System and what it means for our students and schools. As Texas’ college and career readiness experts, we’re excited to bring you timely updates, such as what districts with excellent outcomes can do with their financial bonuses.
It’s back to school with an immediate dive into accountability ratings. While there have been several versions of accountability ratings through TEA in the last fifteen years, this is the first year that individual campuses and districts have received an A–F score. We want to support your campus and district goals when it comes to the new scoring standard so that you can continue to implement quality instructional strategies.