Texas Border Business
McAllen ISD is one of just three large school districts in the state of Texas to earn three major awards this fall.
For school districts with 20,000 or more students, McAllen ISD is one of three to earn the “A” for state accountability, the Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction and the School FIRST for financial integrity. It is also the only school district in the Rio Grande Valley to accomplish this feat and it has done so for the second straight year.
“A” for state accountability
McAllen ISD has earned an “A” from the Texas Education Agency twice since the state switched to a system of awarding letter grades to school districts in 2018.
“This result is the culmination of years of hard work,” Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “All our teachers, administrators, students, staff and parents have contributed to this outstanding achievement. We also appreciate the leadership of our Board of Trustees. We should all be proud.”
McAllen ISD’s overall scaled score is 93.4. A score of 90-100 is considered an “A.” Across the state, only 25 percent of public school districts and charters (301 of 1,201) earned the “A.”
The 85th Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 22, establishing three domains for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses. These are:
- Student Achievement
- School Progress (broken down into Academic Growth and Relative Performance)
- Closing the Gaps
Districts receive a rating of A, B, C, D, or F for overall performance, as well as for performance in each domain.
Based on performance in 2018-19, McAllen ISD’s grades in the domains were as follows:
- Student Achievement B (scaled score 89)
- School Progress
– Academic Growth B (84)
– Relative Performance A (92)
- Closing the Gaps A (95)
McAllen ISD also places strong emphasis on teacher training and development providing the support they need to ensure student learning. As the district continues to promote lifelong learning in students, it continues developing the skill sets and emotional intelligence of its educators. This builds a strong instructional core and sense of belonging since the development of high-quality educators is a key to successful student achievement.
The Student Achievement category measures how well students performed on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) for elementary and middle schools and End of Course (EOC) exams in high school along with how well high school students performed on college and career readiness measures plus their graduation rates.
School Progress is broken down into two sub-categories (Academic Growth and Relative Performance). Student Progress-Academic Growth looks at how many students improved on the STAAR performance in Reading and Math compared with the previous year. Student Progress-Relative Performance measures how well campuses and districts perform in relation to their percentages of low-income students. The highest score from Domain 1 and the two sub-categories in Domain 2, in McAllen ISD’s case, a 92, is used for the calculation of the overall school progress score as per the Texas Education Agency 2019 Accountability Manual.
Closing the Gap measures how well sub-populations of students perform based on their race, income level, disability and other factors that might impact learning and is used for the remaining part in the calculation of the overall progress score.
Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction
McAllen ISD joined an elite handful of school districts in earning the state’s Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction for the third straight year.
Only 5.9 percent of school districts in Texas (71 of 1,201) earned the distinction from the Texas Education Agency.
The Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction takes into account factors such as high graduation rates, high ACT/SAT participation, Career and Technical Education (CTE) graduates, and Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate performance. For elementary and middle school, the criteria include performance on state accountability tests.
“This is an amazing honor,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “We’ve earned this distinction three years in a row because of hard work and a focus on students that, not only teaches them academic material, but also life skills and emotional intelligence. We prepare our students for the game of life.”
In addition, 17 McAllen ISD schools earned the Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction on a campus level. This includes McAllen High, McAllen Memorial High, James “Nikki” Rowe High and Achieve Early College High School.
School FIRST award
For the 16th time in 17 years, preliminary reports indicate McAllen ISD has received the state’s highest mark by the Texas Education Agency’s School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas). Once again, the District did it with a perfect score – the eighth straight year it has earned perfect marks.
The 2019 rating is based on the annual financial report provided to the Texas Education Agency by the District from the 2017-18 school year.
The Superior Achievement rating serves as an indicator of the quality of the District’s financial management and reporting system.
“Congratulations to our Business Office for their hard work and ensuring that we operate at a high level of accountability and financial management,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “By closely monitoring the District’s finances, we ensure that more funding is allocated to support instruction and District goals that benefit our students, staff and schools.”
The School FIRST rating system encourages public schools to better manage their financial resources in order to provide the maximum amount possible for student instruction.
The FIRST goals include:
• Strengthen fiscal accountability
• Improve performance in the management of district finances
• Facilitate effective and efficient use of resources
The ratings are based on 15 financial indicators, such as operating expenditures for instruction, tax collection rates, student-teacher ratios, and long-term debt.
The other school districts with 20,000 or more students which earned the “A” accountability rating, the Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction and the School FIRST award were Socorro ISD in west Texas and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD in north Texas.