End of year Measures of Academic Progress metrics, which include benchmark tests and STAAR results show Tyler Independent School District looking at across-the-board improvements.
District administrators showed early literacy intervention was paying off in a presentation about preliminary MAP results for the board of trustees at Monday’s June meeting.
As STAAR results begin to make their way to parents by the end of the month, data shows continued improvement in the district. The results are preliminary, with upper grade results making their way to parents and grades three through eight expected by July 1.
The largest jump was an 11.4 percent increase in reading skills for second graders over end of year for 2015-16.
Overall for Kindergarten through third-grade combined, the district saw a three percent increase. While this falls short of the districts goals, all schools are showing at least a 30 percent growth in reading RIT scores. RIT, the Rausch Unit, is a measure of growth which districts use to track progress. It gives a baseline of the level that students are answering questions correctly 50 percent of the time.
The presentation also showed that students have grown more in math than reading in almost every grade.
“Tyler ISD would like to see more growth, but the trends show they’re on track to meet grade level,” Dr. James Cureton said. “If we can improve these students early on, we’re going to continue to see them grow later.”
Cureton said the takeaway from the presentation was that the majority of students are showing growth in most grades and schools, the primary focus of academic intervention should continue to be on early literacy improvement and if K-3 scores continue to improve, the district will meet its goal of getting 85 percent of students on grade level in reading by 2021, which would mark a more than 30 percent increase from the 2015-16 starting point.
Dr. Christy Hanson said the key areas of opportunity are in seventh- and eighth-grade classes, which they had identified as having the greatest skill gaps.
DISTRICT OF INNOVATION
Tyler ISD will become a District of Innovation, allowing for greater flexibility and autonomy for the district at a local level.
The board of trustees voted to move forward with the process at the Monday meeting.
District of Innovation is a distinction that allows the district more flexibility on a variety of issues that Tyler ISD believes will benefit the district. Districts must submit planned changes and put together a committee and timeline. Tyler ISD has been working on the process since early in the year.
“We’ve concluded a long journey with the district of innovation plan, as we affectionately call it in this room, the ‘untying some of the knots the legislature has passed over the years’ plan,” Superintendent Marty Crawford said.
Some of the challenges the district hopes to address include insufficient professional learning time, current Texas Education Agency rules do not allow teacher training before August 4.
The district also will have the flexibility to change the start and end dates of the school year. Crawford said with 2017-18 starting Aug. 28, they will not adjust this year. However, the board will have the leeway to end the school year on Memorial Day in the future.
The plan would also allow the district to adjust schedules for Pre-K and alternative education programs, minimum attendance to allow more opportunities for internships and other extracurricular enrichment and also allow the district more flexibility with teacher certifications.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
Tyler ISD also voted to purchase seven new regular fleet buses and two special needs buses from Longhorn Bus Sales at a cost of $866,902. The district currently is looking to hire more bus drivers.
Renovations to the Rose Garden are expected to keep moving forward as the board voted to hire PBK Inc. to begin designing Phase II of the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Phase I will see the seating renovated. Phase II will see improvements to ADA compliance, fencing, lighting and a renovation of the press box.
Many East Texas Independent School Districts have completed the process to become Districts of Innovation. Tyler ISD will be joining the following districts:
Mabank, Martin’s Mill, Arp, Mineola, Rusk, Big Sandy, Mount Pleasant, Murchison, New Summerfield, Kaufman, Brownsboro, Palestine, Canton, Pittsburg, Chapel Hill, Troup and Van.