Killeen and Temple independent school districts scored a D and Copperas Cove, Florence and Gatesville districts received C’s in Children at Risk’s 2014 rankings of all schools in Texas, according to a report issued last week.

Salado ISD and Belton ISD received A’s, while Lampasas ISD earned a B.

Children at Risk is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to assessing school districts’ dealings with at-risk children. This year, districts were ranked overall rather than by campus across three indexes: student achievement, which assesses State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness testing; campus performance; and gross index, which relates to improvement of at-risk students over a period of time.

Caroline Neary, associate director of the Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation at the University of Houston, said the study accounts for poverty to allow a level playing field between more economically disadvantaged districts and their more affluent counterparts. However, to keep the standard high it doesn’t totally adjust for poverty.

“We know that it’s possible for districts with a high amount of poverty to perform well,” Neary said. “But because we know it’s a lot more challenging to work with students from those backgrounds, we want to give those districts credit.”

According to the Texas Tribune, 52.3 percent of Killeen ISD students were considered economically disadvantaged in 2012, and 48.4 percent of the student population was considered to be at risk of dropping out of high school.

Killeen ISD officials were not available for comment Thursday or Friday.

The percentage of economically disadvantaged students in Copperas Cove was 46.1 in 2012, with 48.4 percent at risk of dropping out.

Katie Ryan, Cove ISD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the district’s annual dropout rate is 0.4 percent, compared to 2.4 percent statewide. Ryan said the district consistently takes pre-emptive measures to reach its at-risk students.

“We don’t wait for them to become at risk before we react,” Ryan said. “We bring the support systems to them in that classroom, and then if the child is still needing further assistance, they will be pulled out for even more individualized complex services, such as tutoring and tier programs.”

Students within the district are highly mobile because of Copperas Cove’s proximity to Fort Hood, which, Ryan said, can work as an advantage and disadvantage.

“The longer we have a child in our system, the more we can do with them,” Ryan said. “There’s advantages and disadvantages to both. We try to capitalize on the advantages.”

Neary said parents who have children in lower-ranked districts should take initiative and become more involved in their child’s education.

“If a district has a lower grade, I think that should be a wake-up call for parents and community members to try to get more involved in the improving of their schools, and for administrators to take a closer look at how they can work on improving performance,” Neary said. “Maybe there are new strategies or interventions that they can try if what they’re doing hasn’t been quite working.”

Conta​ct Erinn Callahan at or 254-501-7464.

(5) comments


Google the group’s website and look at the raw data and read for yourself about their methodology in determining grades.
Districts that got an A are mostly from the affluent districts.
Methodology unjustly penalizes districts with larger poor, at risk, and even transit populations.
Case in point, average percentage of students in high school in Coryell and Bell counties who qualify as economically disadvantaged is 45% based on website data posted by Children at Risk
Only 25% (199 out of 743) of the districts with 45% or more economically disadvantaged HS kids scored above a C as opposed to districts with less than 45% economically disadvantaged kids receiving an A or B grade a whopping 67% (301 out of 451) of the time.
With 46% economically disadvantaged kids enrolled, Lampasas should be commended for beating the odds and getting a B (1 in 4 when grouped with CCISD, KISD and TISD). Salado and Belton’s As are completely expected as their economically disadvantage HS populations are 20 and 40% respectively.
Who knew being poor could negatively impact one's ability to concentrate on learning?


What a crock of bull this story is. Where's the explanation of the relevancy of this group, its metrics or validation of its methodology?
What a surprise. Districts with fewer poor students and fewer at risk kids finished at the top of the list (and thereby got an A or B) and districts with more poor or at risk kids finished at the bottom of the list and got a C or D.
The letter grade by no means reflect how well or poor the district or school is meeting the kids' needs. It’s based on where they end up on the list as it relates to other schools.
Additionally the formula is slanted against districts and schools with larger poor or at risk student populations.


What jumps out at me is the 0.4 annual drop out rate. How are the Texas education industry leaders manipulating this statistic? Simple me has gone to several graduations of senior classes that started with 1,000 students but there are only 750 youngsters crossing the stage. When I went to school, that is a 25% dropout rate.

Really wish the Texas educational industry leaders would reveal their "formula" cause if us people who pay their salary knew it, I think we'd be horrified by their shiftiness and blatant manipulation of the numbers.

Why won't they share that formula with us? Because it would expose them as failures, hence the D rating Ms. Ryan disputes in the article.


I would imagine the .4 percent is actually kids that dropped out of school, hence the name drop out. The missing 246 kids may have moved, may be behind in graduating so they will graduate with the next class, may have moved on to an alternative school and graduated there. I beleive the term drop out is reserved for kids who DROP OUT of school..not the ones that don't graduate with their class. Just my 2%of a dollar.


I am surprised the rating was that high, an E would be more appropriate.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.