Despite receiving an “A” rating last week from the Texas Education Agency, Frisco ISD is looking to supplement the state accountability rating system with one officials said is better at telling the whole story.

The TEA released district ratings of “A” through “F” for the second year, and for the first year it ranked campuses with a letter grade as well.

FISD received a composite score of 93 out of 100. Last year it received a 96.

Out of 70 campuses, 59 received an “A,” eight got a “B” and three received a “C.” Nine high schools received an “A,” and Lebanon Trail High School got a “B.”

McSpedden Elementary received the highest numeric score of 98.

Still, FISD officials said the system used to calculate these scores are not the best way to tell the story of how students and school districts are performing.

“Test scores are just one measure of student achievement,” Superintendent Mike Waldrip said. “While we are proud of all that our students and teachers have accomplished, it’s impossible to summarize in a letter grade. That’s why our district is partnering with the community to develop a more comprehensive accountability system that speaks to a broader range of learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom. We know the true effectiveness of our schools will be measured by our ability to develop students who can innovate, persevere and contribute to the changing world around them. We look forward to sharing more information about the way this system will drive meaningful change and improvement within our school system.” 

FISD is looking to implement a Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS) by 2020. CBAS is a product of FISD’s work with more than 40 other districts in the Texas Public Accountability Consortium.

Once complete, officials expect the CBAS to focus on student learning and progress, student readiness, engaged and well-rounded students, community engagement and partnerships, professional learning and quality of staff, fiscal and operational systems, and safety and well-being.

“Through the CBAS process, the Frisco ISD community will be empowered to define school accountability in a manner that reflects the diversity, talents, skills and priorities of its students,” the district stated.

The TEA rates districts based on student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.

Student achievement is calculated by weighing STAAR test performance, college, career and military readiness and graduation rate.

School progress takes into account academic growth, or the percentage of students who grew academically, and relative performance, which compares the student achievement percentage with the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Closing the gaps weighs grade level performance, graduation rate, English language proficiency and college, career and military readiness. 

The high schools are rated the same way. Middle and elementary schools have most, but not all, of the same categories.

Mike Morath, commissioner of education, defended the system following the release.

“This has been designed to recognize all that happens in Texas public schools,” Morath said. “It is not just about performance on standardized tests. It is a balanced indicator system that includes recognition of graduation rates, AP exams, industry credentials and SAT scores.”

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