Pre-K provides a positive start

Herald/ Steven Doll - Pre-K teacher Dianna Massey reads a story to her class on the first day of school Monday at Venable Village Elementary School.

The number of pre-K suspensions at Killeen Independent School District far exceeds all other school districts across the state, according to a new study. The district, however, disputes its authenticity.

A new report released by the nonprofit organization Texans Care for Children in Austin warns that Texas students in pre-K through second grade are still at risk of being suspended, highlighting comparatively high numbers in KISD.

The report calls on education and policy leaders to work to replace early grade suspensions with positive behavioral strategies and reduce the use of in-school suspensions in these grades. Texans Care for Children says its study follows up on the state Legislature’s passage of HB 674 in 2017 to ban out-of-school suspensions in nearly all cases for pre-K through second-grade students.

KISD suspended 1,460 total pre-K students out of 3,423 enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year, accounting for 31 percent of the 4,691 pre-K suspensions statewide, according to the report. KISD combines one of the highest pre-K suspension rates in the state, 43 per 100 students, with one of the largest pre-K enrollments in the state for that school year.

KISD Chief Communication Officer Terry Abbott said the district cannot confirm the percentage reached by Texans Care for Children. And KISD is reporting different numbers than what is in the report.

In 2015-16, according to Abbott, KISD had 495 individual pre-K students out of 4,038 enrolled who were involved in a total of 1,460 in-school and out-of-school suspensions for pre-K students.

Abbot said the district’s rate of in-schools suspensions per 100 pre-K students in 2015-16 was 21.79, but did not provide a figure for rate of out-of-school suspensions per 100 pre-K students.

“That was a particular calculation they used, and that’s one that we could not corroborate,” Abbott said in regard to out-of-school suspensions.

In 2016-17, there were 476 pre-K students who were involved in a total of 1,440 in-school and out-of-school suspensions out of 3,847 enrolled pre-K students, according to Abbott.

“In any event, the number of out-of-school suspensions is down by more than half since 2015-16 and the trend of in school suspensions, leading into the final weeks of the school year, is down as well,” Abbott said. “We don’t know how they arrived at that number, but it doesn’t seem to be accurate.”

Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, said her organization collected point-in-time suspension data from the Texas Education Agency, not cumulative numbers that KISD rebutted with.

Texans Care for Children said the TEA collects data in two ways: point-in-time wise and cumulatively.

“Depending on what you're calculating, you're supposed to use one or the other,” Rubin said in an email. “We used the point in time data available from TEA.”

mpayne@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553

Herald staff writer

(5) comments

dailymajor

Pre-K through 2nd grade in KISD cannot be suspended from school unless a series of very major infractions occur. Attacking other students, assaulting teachers, assaulting administrators, and destruction of property are just a few examples.

Thisisembarrasing

I hope every parent of a young child in the area reads this. This is exactly why I will NEVER send my children to any KISD. The fact that the school dept isnt ashamed that almost 13% of students from k-2nd grade were suspended is pathetic. How do we as a community continue to support the elected officials who accept these numbers? How do they get the free pass? Is it the parents fault? Is this what “army strong” leaves in their wake as run off and “left behinds”? If this is what’s being accepted then something is wrong, and the only way to fix it is to either start over, or start holding people accountable - from the parents (truancy charges maybe) to the administrators (associate pay/compensation to true performance - not just make the pay “competitive”) to the elected “officials” who make the “best decisions” for the students that we are forced to swallow as parents and tax payers. Good luck if you send your child to KISD - this is how they will start and it’s onlybdown hill from here. I’m Ashamed to have to admit that I lived in this city and had my hard earned money going towards this system.

Comment deleted.
Thisisembarrasing

Did you notice how the first group of people I said needs to be held accountable is the parents? Guess you only read the facts of my statement you wanted to. And if you think this is a singular statistic do your own research. Stand a distance off and watch some of the middle/high schools in town for a few days and tell me what you see. I work in town and drive throughout as part of my job and I can’t even count the number of times I have seen fights and brawls, kids hitting cars and then blowing their top at the driver for their own crappy attitudes, and parents of these kids be just as dumb as the average 7th grader. You may be right, there may be thousands of success stories, and true success should be congratulated and supported, but just getting a HS diploma without being suspended shouldn’t be congratulated as a major success, but needs to be understood as the minimum acceptable outcome. Mediocrity gets mediocrity, and what is being passed off as the normal in some of these schools is closer to the scrapings at the bottom of the barrel. I am not putting all the blame at the feet of KISD, but I can’t vote out a crappy parent, or pull their license to stop having kids, and it seems like I’m the only adult left in the area that when I see parents of misbehaving young children I call them out on it. There isn’t any more of a community support in this city, nobody is willing to point out what isn’t acceptable when it’s seen, and as a result kids are being left to their own makings, and you are right one bad apple ruins a basket, the problem is there are so many bad apples that the basket itself is starting to become rotten.

dailymajor

Just a few comments....I don't know what method of reporting is used by KISD and other schools,.. I do know what is said about statistics,... but I do know that KISD does everything in their power, all kinds of strategies and methods, to try to keep ALL kids in school, including Pre K...It is hard to believe that little ones can attack teachers and administrators, curse them, spit at them, try to fight their fellow students and teachers, try to tear rooms up,...but some do. It is difficult to believe that some parents come to the school, attack the teachers and administrators, and justify their kid's bad behavior,..but they do....When I first came to Killeen many years ago, I had always believed that kids in a military town would be very disciplined and there would be very few problems with students. ..I was wrong.

THUGNIFICENT KILLED ME

If the lil demons won't behave, by all means don't suspend them, expel them. Otherwise, when the lil demons become teenage devils, the high schools will be come lawless bastions of evil deeds. Oh wait, isn't that exactly what is happening all across KIDS? Suspensions are merely vacations, anyway. However, if the demons or devils are expelled, KIDS won't get that state loot, will they?

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