Tyler Independent School District expects to move up a full letter grade when the state releases accountability ratings later this week.
Tyler ISD will go from a “C” rating last year to a “B” with some big gains on many campuses for the 2018-19 school year, according to a news release from the district. Hogg Middle School will be under the state’s “Improvement Required” status after some setbacks, Superintendent Marty Crawford said.
Overall the district’s score is up 7 points, moving from a 78 to an 85. Under the Texas Education Agency’s Accountability Ratings, a “C” is considered average. Seven campuses went up a letter grade, 13 maintained their score from last year and six went down. Hogg is the only campus that moved into “Improvement Required” status. Over the past five years the district went from 11 campuses considered “Improvement Required” to zero last year.
Crawford said with the small student body at Hogg, at just over 300 students, one group of students experiencing setbacks can have a major impact on the school’s rating. Crawford also said midyear personnel changes contributed to the middle school’s rating trending downward.
“Hogg does look like it’s going to be improvement required by 1 point this year,” Crawford said. “We understand those challenges and we’ll get them back up to speed next year.”
Every campus in the district also saw changes to attendance zones, as the district worked to even out student populations at its most crowded schools. Despite the changes, the district saw more gains than losses, especially in the category that measures college readiness.
“We’re pretty proud of that,” Crawford said. “It certainly has been a community effort to get there.” Part of that boost comes from increases in College, Career and Military Readiness scores, which are considered lag data, meaning they run a year behind. Some examples of the data considered includes student performance on Advanced Placement exams, dual credit course completion and career certifications. Last year, Tyler ISD outperformed state averages in 19 of its 26 Advanced Placement courses. The district also saw huge gains in terms of Career and Technology Education Certifications and increased Dual Credit courses thanks to its Career and Technology Center and Early College High School.
Crawford said the district was particularly proud of how well Moore Middle School did, with changes to its attendance zone and taking most of the students who previously attended Dogan Middle School, which was shut down after the 2017-18 school year. Dogan had been on the state’s Improvement Required list for four straight years, coming off the list its final year of operation.
Moore will have a “B” rating, with a decline of one point.
Birdwell, Bonner, Bell, Andy Woods and Owens Elementary Schools and Caldwell Arts Academy are expected to earn a “B” rating while Jack Elementary School will maintain its “A” rating.
Crawford said all of the high schools did well, with John Tyler moving up 12 points, Robert E. Lee moving up 1 point and Early College High School maintaining its score of 97. RISE Academy, a specialized high school for credit recovery and dropout prevention, rose about 25 points.
The TEA grading system uses three domains for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps, according to the news release. Districts and campuses receive a rating for overall performance, as well as for performance in each domain.
Distinctions for areas where the campuses have excelled will be released on Thursday.
BULLARD — Carolyn Welty, a senior at The Brook Hill School in Bullard, plans to study international business in college. She says being a business owner could be in her future.
She will get a real-world experience on the challenges of running a business when classes start at the school on Wednesday.
Welty will be one of the students who will help manage The Guard Shop, a new retail store on campus that sells Brook Hill merchandise.On Monday, Rod Fletcher, the private school’s headmaster, and others gathered at The Guard Shop to hold an opening ceremony.
Adjoining the retail space is a classroom that connects it to the The Cabin Coffee House next door. Students will run both businesses as part of marketing, business and entrepreneurship classes that will meet in the new classroom, which the school has dubbed the collaboration space.
“We’re super excited to be in a different environment to learn,” Welty said. “We will be able to apply what we study to the real world. It’s really exciting.”
Kelly King, the school’s business program director, said students were instrumental in planning The Guard Shop, which is located just inside the entrance to the Upper School campus, and stocking it with merchandise.
Students will be responsible for everything from pricing to inventory control.Putting the students in charge of the businesses provides a different way to teach, King said. “Kids don’t want to be stuck in a classroom with just you front of the board all the time. ... This is out-of-the-box teaching.”
On Monday, many Brook Hill students, faculty and parents were in The Guard Shop. Clothing and other merchandise were flying off the shelves.
King said she is looking forward to the educational opportunities the retail store will create.
“Our students come up with so many creative ideas,” King said in a statement released by the school. “I’m excited to see how their minds work and how we can implement their ideas into The Guard Shop and The Cabin Coffee House.”
During the opening ceremony, Fletcher said, “This is a big moment for us. ... It’s awesome that our students will be able to work in these two places.”
Entrepreneurship is “in our DNA,” he said in a news release. “We’re always asking ourselves, ‘What’s next? How can we create more opportunities for our students?’”
The Tyler Morning Telegraph and Longview News-Journal recently photographed 199 East Texas high school football players from 46 schools at the East Texas Oil Museum in Kilgore in preparation for The Zone magazine. The Zone magazine — a publication of M. Roberts Media — will be available Aug. 25 in subscriptions of the Tyler Morning Telegraph and Longview News-Journal. The magazine will feature football previews of 146 schools. Photos from the photo shoot will be posted on Tylerpaper.com and available for purchase at Focusinon.me starting Wednesday with Robert E. Lee, John Tyler, Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill. Photos from the remaining schools will be unveiled over the next 11 days.
The Tyler City Council will consider the upcoming budget and may propose a property tax rate at a meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting will mark the beginning of the public discussion about the city’s budget for fiscal year 2020, which starts Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2020.
At the meeting, members will consider a proposed budget from City Manager Ed Broussard, who has been working with his staff throughout the summer to create a budget.
Broussard also will recommend a property tax rate to accompany the spending plan. The current rate on 2018 property values is 24.4452 cents per $100 of property value, which was an increase over the 2017 rate of 24 cents.
The City Council is likely to vote to propose a 2019 property tax rate, whether increased, decreased, or level. Should a motion pass, the proposed rate would serve as the ceiling for the property tax rate that the City Council can adopt.
Public hearings are scheduled for Aug. 28 and Sept. 11, and the City Council will pass a budget Sept. 25, according to the city’s internal budget calendar.
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