Superintendent's Welcome Message

Superintendent's Welcome Message

Greetings,

It is with great pride and heartfelt expectations that I welcome our 24,000 students back to class for the 2018-2019 school year. Without a doubt, we have so much for which to be proud as our students make their way to their classrooms. In every neighborhood throughout our school district, teachers are challenging children to reach for the stars and develop their unique talents.  In fact, at this point in time, LISD eagerly awaits the announcement of another potential nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School award from the United States Department of Education.  You will soon be hearing more about this announcement as the information becomes available.

 At last week’s convocation for our 4,000 employees, we introduced our District theme for the school year, “Building Tomorrow Together.”  This year’s theme focuses on developing meaningful student-centered relationships with our parents, businesses, and the community in support of LISD’s initiatives.  In the spirit of such collaboration, teacher teams from various schools were recognized for their student performance in English language arts, reading, mathematics, science and social studies.  Our employees were also treated to an energy-infused rendition of our own High School Drumline Challenge, a Heights Elementary School dance interpretation, a Trevino Magnet School Folklorico performance featuring teachers and students and a grand finale of LISD’s Honor Mariachi and four very talented adults who invited the crowd to a sing-a-long of mariachi favorites. 

The celebration gave way to a review of last year’s student performance across the District and the identification of several goals for the 2018-2019 school year.  It is important to note that while we are confident our educational mission is validated through the achievement of our students, we must continue working diligently to master new state and federal accountability standards.  With this being said, Texas, this year, will be implementing a new statewide accountability system that will rate every district with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F.  The ratings will be made public later this week by the Texas Education Agency. Based on our preliminary calculations, LISD is expecting a strong performance rating.

 The new system will replace the former ratings of Exemplary, Recognized, Met Standard, and Improvement Required with a corresponding letter grade.  For this year only, campuses will either receive a “met standard” or “improvement required,” rating based on their student performance in the 2017-18 school year.  Campuses will not officially receive a letter grade under the A-F system until the 2018-2019 school year.

 District ratings for the 2017-2018 will be based on the following categories:

 

  1. Student achievement which gauges student performance on the STAAR exam, high school student performance on college, career and military readiness, and graduation rates.

     

  2. School progress which measures how many students improved on the STAAR, as well as school and district performance compared with other campuses and districts with similar numbers of low-income students.

     

  3. Closing the gap which compares reading and math student scores based on their race or ethnicity, income level, disability and other factors that could affect learning.

 

The letter grade assigned to District performance is weighted on a 70% + 30% scale.  Only the higher grade in either of the student achievement and school progress categories is considered and counts for 70% of the overall district grade. The score for closing the gap counts for 30% of the rating.

In my humble opinion, the new A-F system relies heavily on student STAAR performance exam scores and does not adequately consider the child’s total educational experience within Texas schools. Such a rating system does not measure the value of extracurricular participation nor the learning that takes place in a whole child approach.  While the system allows for a variance in scores earned by Texas schools classified as predominantly economically disadvantaged, such schools may also earn a disproportionate amount of D or F ratings. Moreover, substantial research does not exist, supporting this new system of ratings.

At LISD, we are confident that our schools will rise to this and any academic challenge, as has always been evidenced by the many accolades earned by our students and staff.  Understanding that there is always room for improvement, our Board of Trustees, teachers and staff work diligently every day to provide a nurturing environment that is conducive to learning and which prepares students to participate successfully in our society. It is our steadfast belief that the wide variety of programs offered in our schools empower every student to develop, realize their unique potential, and achieve their dreams. It is also important that we continue the collaborative efforts between our schools, families, and community to ensure the success of all LISD students.  With this being said, we send our best wishes for a productive and fulfilling school year in all our campuses as we are Building Tomorrow Together!

Sincerely,

Sylvia G. Rios

Dr. Sylvia G. Rios

Superintendent of Schools

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