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Frisco ISD Develops a Community-Based Accountability System

Aug 14, 2019

Frisco ISD will supplement the state-issued accountability ratings with a self-reported annual holistic review of the District starting in 2020. Information in this report will include everything from data on student involvement and safety to college, career and military readiness.

Whether formal or informal, accountability is a powerful orienting force within an organization and can help mold the organization to fit its definition of success.

“It is critical that accountability is in line with the beliefs, mission and vision of the District, and reflects how the Frisco ISD community defines and measures success,” said Dr. Gary Nye, director of assessment and accountability.

Over the past year, community members and District leaders have joined together in an effort to identify a diverse set of meaningful data points regarding what success means within the community. 

“Frisco ISD recognizes that an accountability system that includes community perspective is vital,” said Frisco ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Waldrip. “With the help of the community, CBAS presents a new lens to view success while providing information for our stakeholders that goes well beyond a state-generated letter grade or a test score.”

The Past

Historically in Texas, student scores on standardized tests have largely determined whether a school is deemed successful in teaching students.

The Texas Education Agency has provided the public with accountability ratings since 2003, when it rated schools based on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores, attendance rates, dropout rates and college readiness levels. The ratings varied from “Academically Unacceptable” to “Exemplary.”

Beginning in 2013, schools earned either a “Met Standard” or “Improvement Required” rating, which mostly depended on student achievement on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).

The Present

August 2019 is the first time the Texas Education Agency will assign an A-F rating to all schools in addition to districts.

Each campus and district will receive an overall letter grade and a letter grade for each category:

  • Student Achievement - how well students perform on state standardized tests and whether they are ready for college and careers (70% of overall grade if higher than School Progress score) 

  • School Progress - how much students improve on state tests from year to year (70% of overall grade if higher than Student Achievement score)

  • Closing the Gaps - how well schools boost scores for subgroups such as students with special needs, low-income students and English language learners as evidenced in state tests (30% of grade)

The continued heavy reliance on state test scores as a measure of student performance is evident.

“Accountability is necessary, it is just what schools and districts are held accountable for by the state that is the question we are addressing as a school district,” said Amanda Ziaer, managing director of secondary curriculum and instruction. “Frisco ISD believes that we should provide engaging, appropriate experiences for all students so that learners are able to apply their knowledge in ways that will enrich their lives and ensure their well-being.”

The Future

cbas-graphicWhile the Texas Education Agency will provide the District and campuses with an A-F rating, Frisco ISD strives to provide an extra layer of community accountability through a Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS).

Frisco ISD joins more than 40 other school districts who are part of the Texas Public Accountability Consortium who are working toward the development of community-based accountability systems.

Starting in 2020, FISD will publish a CBAS report in the fall of each school year in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency’s release of the A-F accountability ratings.

“Public school accountability should include multiple, comprehensive measures that accurately reflect student experiences on each campus and the expectations from its community,” Ziaer said.

The District’s Long-Range Planning Committee, Faculty Council and District leaders have joined together in an effort to identify a diverse set of meaningful data points regarding core pillars: 

  • Student Learning and Progress

  • Student Readiness

  • Engaged, Well-Rounded Students

  • Community Engagement and Partnerships

  • Professional Learning/Quality Staff

  • Fiscal and Operational Systems

  • Safety and Well-Being

To exemplify engaged, well-rounded students, the District would potentially report on participation and involvement in community service, athletics, fine arts and student clubs and organizations. The District would also potentially report on the degree to which it encourages and celebrates the ways students are unique through campus celebrations/assemblies or District events.

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 CBAS strives to recognize and celebrate the whole child, report on educational outcomes above and beyond standardized tests and provide information to schools that will drive meaningful change and improvement.

Over the next several weeks, Frisco ISD will release a more in-depth explanation of each pillar along with preliminary data requested the 2018-19 CBAS Committee. During the 2019-20 school year, the committee will review and gather data in anticipation of the first official CBAS report in August of 2020.

District staff and community members are encouraged to use and follow #canttestthat on various social media platforms to follow how students in Frisco ISD are taught more than what they are tested on each spring.

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