By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Copperas Cove Independent School District earned a higher accountability ranking from the Texas Education Agency for 2011 despite some individual schools' rankings dropping.
CCISD received an accountability rating of Recognized for the 2011 year, which it last received in 2008. In 2009 and 2010 the TEA gave the district the rating of Academically Acceptable, which is one step lower than Recognized.
Deputy Superintendent Troy Galow said the increased rating can be attributed to the exceptional work done by the district's teachers, students and staff. The district is proud of the students' high test scores and the gain the district made in the completion rate.
Superintendent Rose Cameron echoed Galow's words.
"The Recognized rating is a direct result of the hard work of our staff and students," Cameron said. "In a time where accountability standards continue to change, our students and staff continue to make the difference in their classrooms. I am extremely proud of the efforts of each individual in the CCISD."
While most schools kept the same rating from 2010, Copperas Cove Junior High,
Clements/Parsons and Williams/Ledger all received lower individual school ratings then the previous year, according to the TEA website. Clements/Parsons fell from Exemplary to Recognized, while the other two schools fell from Recognized to Academically Acceptable.
Martin Walker Elementary School did keep its Exemplary status, which is the highest rating the school can receive. Crossroads High School also kept its highest status of Academically Acceptable.
"It is important to note that though the accountability standards increased and we did not meet the new standard in all areas, we did see positive gains on all our campuses," Galow said. "This commitment and high expectation for increased achievement is a foundation of our school system, and I have every belief that positive gains will continue in the future."
The ratings assigned by the TEA are based on student performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and also takes into account completion rates and annual dropout rates, stated a news release from CCISD.
The performance of individual groups of students also is applied to the rating criteria. The student groups are defined by the major ethnic and racial groups as well as by students designated as economically disadvantaged.
All of the evaluated groups must meet the criteria for a given rating category in order to earn that label.
The TEA ranked 421 other school districts as Recognized. Sixty-one districts received the higher ranking of Exemplary. The numbers put CCISD in the top 40 percent of school districts in the state for 2011.
Since the state will replace the TAKs with the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness testing system for students, the accountability system will change as well and the district will keep its 2011 rating through 2012.
The district was honored to receive its rating from TEA, but that doesn't mean the district won't try to continue to improve, Galow said.
"While the rating is certainly something to celebrate, we continuously strive to improve as a district each and every year regardless of a state rating," he said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.