By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
Fifty-one Killeen Independent School District campuses met Adequate Yearly Progress this year, leaving one that fell behind.
School accountability ratings and changes in high school graduation requirements were the main topics of discussion at Tuesday's board workshop meeting.
AYP is a federal accountability system mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. It takes into account campus performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), district participation on the test and high school graduation rates.
As a district, KISD met AYP this year – a significant accomplishment compared to last year. The district did not meet AYP in 2008 due to low special education performance in reading and math.
Smith Middle School missed the AYP benchmark by one indicator this year. Forty-one percent of special education students did not meet the standard in math, compared to 46 percent the year before.
"I don't know if I have the answer to that (why special education math performance was low)," Deputy Superintendent Bobby Ott said Tuesday. "I do know we're addressing it. We've identified those students, and we're going to work closely in making sure we give them the appropriate instruction."
The district's AYP performance improved overall. In 2008, all secondary campuses failed to meet AYP except for Liberty Hill Middle School, Pathways Learning Center and the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center. This year, Smith Middle School was the only one that didn't make the cut.
"I think this is very positive, and I know the staff is excited about it," Ott said. "Knowing exactly where you're at is the best way to march forward."
As for state accountability ratings, KISD was rated exemplary in reading, writing and social studies. In math and science the district was recognized, and its completion rate was acceptable, according to Tuesday's presentation. KISD improved its accountability rating in four out of the five subjects.
Harker Heights High School was the only campus rated academically unacceptable this year. The rating drop is tied to a significant decrease in its high school completion rate for economically disadvantaged students. Only 73.4 percent of economically disadvantaged students from the class of 2008 completed high school, compared with 80.9 percent the year before. HHHS would be a recognized campus if its completion rate wasn't counted.
Also at the meeting, the board reviewed new high school graduation requirements approved by the state Legislature this summer.
As a part of House Bill 3, students in the recommended graduation plan would no longer be required to take a health course, technology class and half of a physical education credit. It also added a fine arts credit to the minimum plan. These courses could still be taken as electives.
The changes are meant to provide more opportunities for students to select courses in their areas of interest, Ott said.
The changes will go into effect for students entering their junior year in KISD. The board decided to amend a statement in district policy that would allow the district's incoming seniors to keep their current graduation plans.
"This saves teachers, counselors, parents and principals from some serious problems that could come up down the road for the senior class," Ott said.
Contact Rebecca LaFlure at email@example.com or (254) 501-7548.