Monday, January 9, 2017

A-F Accountability Ratings - Message from SBISD Superintendent of Schools

Dear SBISD Families and Community Members,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a restful break and are enjoying a great start to the second semester.

In the days ahead, the “mock” or pilot A-F Accountability Ratings for Texas public schools and districts will be released. These ratings, based heavily on the STAAR test, are mandated by House Bill 2804 which was passed by the 84th Texas Legislature. HB 2804 significantly changes the state public school accountability system.

The mock or pilot ratings provide legislators with an advance snapshot of “provisional” grades before the official rating system goes into effect in August 2018. They do not count. I want to make you aware of some important information and the SBISD position on this rating system.

We do not believe the state’s A-F rating system is the highest and best way to hold SBISD accountable, and we do not believe a single letter grade provides a true reflection of who we are. Rather, SBISD believes in multiple measures to assess how our students, schools and district are faring. (Click here to listen to a message form SBISD Superintendent of Schools.)

Our Board is now finalizing the measures under The Learner’s Journey, our new strategic plan. These measures will all point to our single-focused T-2-4 goal. We aim for each of our graduates to complete a technical certification or military training, or a 2- or 4-year degree.

Key Things to Know About A-F Ratings:
  • A-F ratings are based largely on a single, once-a-year, multiple choice bubble test. (STAAR)
  • A-F ratings are not transparent, relying on complicated formulas to create a single grade.
  • A-F ratings appear to be simple and easy to understand, but in fact provide no insights as to what best practices distinguish an “A” school from a “D” or “F” school.
  • A-F ratings fail to account for socio-economic differences and tend to punish schools with significant student populations living in poverty.
  • A-F ratings do not account for improvement efforts.
  • A-F ratings may create a false impression about an entire community of children. Reducing a school to a single letter grade unfairly attaches that same grade to every student, educator and the neighborhood as a whole.
  • A-F ratings have not worked in other states.
As an administrator in Florida when a similar rating system was adopted more than a decade ago, I can tell you first-hand the rating system narrowed the school’s focus to student performance on a one-time test. This is not what we are about in SBISD.
I believe a school should not be defined by a “simple” letter grade, in the same way we should not define a child by the letter grade they earn on a single test. The ultimate measure of a school’s success lies in the totality of the school experience that fosters the success of the whole child.

I believe in our students, our staff and our school leaders, and I am proud of the continual improvement efforts underway in Spring Branch ISD.

Scott Muri, Ed.D.
SBISD Superintendent of Schools


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