Friday, February 12, 2016

February 5th

The Supt Dish                                     February 5, 2016
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with our new commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath. As I mentioned in my first Supt. Dish of 2016, Mr. Morath has a background in business and is a former school board member of Dallas ISD. Commissioner Morath spent over two hours yesterday at ESC 3 seeking input from superintendents with possible changes to our accountability system, specifically Index 4. It was refreshing to all to have the commissioner ask educators their opinions in changes with a new accountability framework.
There will possibly be up to five changes with Index 4 in the near future. These include 1) include attendance rate for elementary; 2) Include Special Education exit rates in which one superintendent mentioned to change to RTI exits; 3) English Language Learners (ELL) exit rate; 4) Climate/Student Surveys (student perception survey with questions such as “do you feel encouraged to ask questions in class”); and 5) extra-curricular engagement (at Dallas ISD Mr. Morath stated the goal was to have 100% of students involved in some type of extra-curricular activity).
Starting this fall, school districts will see an additional category in the accountability framework, Index 5. This index will stress the importance of community and parent engagement. There are six ways to rate community engagement:  Fine arts, Wellness & PE, Community & Parent Involvement, 21st Century Workforce Development, Second Language Acquisition, Digital Learning Environments, Dropout Prevention Strategies, and Education Programs for G/T students.
School districts will pick three categories and self-report their progress to TEA at the end of the school year. It was just a way to remain accountable, but that self-report will comprise 10 percent of a district’s score starting next fall.  
Accompanying the commissioner was associate commissioner Sally Partridge. I have known Ms. Partridge for a few years and had the honor of co-presenting with her last fall at a convention on school turn-around. Ms. Partridge is moving in to a new role with TEA, as the agency wants to be more of a service entity while still maintaining the compliance department. She will be the liaison between the agency and service centers. Ms. Partridge is a great choice for this position and will be an asset to open communication between school districts, service centers and the agency.
February 17 is Digital Learning Day. How will you go digital that day? You can learn more about digital learning day at Share your favorite digital classroom tools and resources and you could win an Apple watch!

Associate Commissioner Sally Partridge and Commissioner Mike Morath

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