McAllen ISD Hits It Out Of Park: Earns 5 Major Awards

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Awards include ‘A’ from state, outstanding distinction & perfect score in finance

Texas Border Business

McAllen ISD has hit it out of the park with a bevy of major awards from the state and beyond.

The district earned an ‘A’ Accountability Rating from the state of Texas, a Post-Secondary Readiness Distinction for the second straight year plus state, national and international awards in school finance! The Texas Education Agency released results to the public today showing the accountability ratings and the Post-secondary Readiness Distinctions that have been earned for the 2017-18 school year.

The following chart illustrates these state-level achievements. The percentage of Texas school districts earning an ‘A’ is 12.75% while those earning the Post-secondary Readiness Distinction is fewer at 5.08%. The percentage that earned both is a mere 3.58%. By including districts with more than 20,000 students enrolled, only four such school districts emerge in Texas and only two had those three criteria plus the state’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) award with a perfect score. Therefore, McAllen ISD is one of only two school districts in Texas to meet all four designations.

“These results are the culmination of years of hard work,” Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “All our teachers, students, staff and parents have contributed to these outstanding achievements. We also appreciate the leadership of our School Board of Trustees.”
“These results are the culmination of years of hard work,” Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “All our teachers, students, staff and parents have contributed to these outstanding achievements. We also appreciate the leadership of our School Board of Trustees.”

District Accountability Rating

McAllen ISD’s overall scaled score is 92. A score of 90-100 is considered an ‘A’ in the new Accountability Rating System. The 85th Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 22, establishing three domains for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses.

These are:

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  • 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 2017-18, McAllen ISD’s grades in the domains were as follows:

  • Student Achievement B (scaled score 86)
  • School Progress
    – Academic Growth             B (84)
    – Relative Performance        A (92)
  • Closing the Gaps A (93)

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 scaled score of 84% 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 2018 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.

The state legislature approved the new A-F rating system in 2015. Campuses will receive A–F ratings beginning in 2019.

Post-secondary Readiness Distinction

The Post-secondary Readiness Distinction takes into account factors which include:

  • Performance on state exams
  • High graduation rates
  • High ACT/SAT participation
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) graduates
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate performance

For elementary and middle school, the criteria include performance on state accountability tests.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “We’ve earned this distinction two 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 train our students to think.”

Finance awards

In McAllen ISD’s continuing pursuit to be good stewards of the public’s dollar, the district recently earned three major awards in the international, national and state arenas.

These include the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) – an international standard – for the submission of the 2018-19 Annual Budget Book. This is the fourth straight year McAllen ISD has earned the highest recognition in government budgeting.

The award has come from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) the past two years.

In previous years, the District was awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Preparing the budget involved teamwork from the district’s Business Services, Human Resources and the Department of Technology.

In addition, McAllen ISD is one of just 26 school districts in the nation to earn the prestigious 23rd Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement® (AEP) for 2018 from the National Procurement Institute, Inc. (NPI). The AEP is awarded annually to public and non-profit organizations for innovation, professionalism, e-procurement, productivity and leadership in the procurement function. This is the sixth straight year McAllen ISD has won the award.

For the 15th time in 16 years, McAllen ISD has received the state’s highest mark by the Texas Education Agency’s School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas). The district did it with a perfect score – the seventh straight year it has earned perfect marks. Although preliminary, the award and score will become official later in the fall.

The 2018 rating is based on the annual financial report provided to the Texas Education Agency by the district from the 2016-17 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 Operations Division for their diligence and ensuring that our district continues to operate at a world-class level in terms of how it responsibly handles taxpayer dollars,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “A close watch of the district’s finances ensures that more funding is allocated to support instruction and district goals that benefit our students, staff and schools.”

McAllen ISD prides itself on being a district of choice for children in elementary, middle and high school. That includes:

  • McAllen ISD offers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) in Pre-K-12, International Baccalaureate in grades 1-12, Advanced Placement courses, Career Technical Education in 15 career clusters where students earn professional licenses or certifications, four dual enrollment academies and an Early College High School where students can earn an Associate’s Degree before they graduate high school
  • Offering International Baccalaureate Teaching and Learning Framework – elementary through high school
  • Offering full day Pre-Kindergarten for qualifying families and by tuition for all families
  • Offering a Dual Language program in elementary and middle school
  • Offering the Minitropolis concept in several elementary schools
  • High schools geared with the capacity for students to graduate with any or up to all of the five endorsements offered in Texas (Business & Industry, STEM, Public Services, Arts & Humanities or Multi-Disciplinary)
  • Offering academic UIL competition like Ready Writing, Math, etc. – elementary through high school
  • Offering chess in elementary through high school (5 state titles since program’s inception in 2016. 22 teams qualifying for national competition in 2018).
  • Offering robotics – elementary through high school (HS state champion in 2018)
  • Offering coding – elementary through high school (2 elementary coding teams earned best in state in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, 2nd in nation. In 2017, 3rd worldwide)
  • A Parent University Program in which more than 100 parents attend periodic meetings to learn about important programs or initiatives in the district
  • Elementary music classes taught by teachers degreed in music
  • A Career Technical Education program which offers 38 college certifications, 94 elective courses, 12 four-year graduation plans, 15 career clusters and 27 statewide articulated courses for college credit.
  • 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 key to successful student achievement.
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