- Consolidated Report on Texas Education Service Centers
The 82nd Texas Legislature mandated that the Commissioner of Education provide an annual consolidated report from the ESCs to the Legislative Budget Board, the Governor’s Office, and to presiding officers of standing legislative committees with jurisdiction over public education. The report provides a look at the cost savings to school districts and charter schools achieved through purchase of ESC products and services in the categories of professional development, products, direct services, and technical assistance. With qualifications, the report found “prices of ESC products and services were generally lower than alternate providers.”
- Quality Counts 2012 Released
Education Week recently published its annual report card on American education, Quality Counts. Scoring the states and the nation on six areas of policy, the report gives the U.S. a C rating. Maryland ranked highest in the nation, for the fourth year in a row. Texas was rated a C+, with its lowest ranking being a D+ for School Finance, which includes equity and spending. The highest ranking for Texas was an A for Transitions & Alignment, which covers early-childhood education, college readiness, and economy & workforce.
- Blue Ribbon Nominees
Education Commissioner Robert Scott in early January announced the Texas nominees for the 2012 Blue Ribbon Program. The schools are nominated for improving (dramatic improvement in student performance on state tests) or high achieving (students ranking in the top 10% in performance on state tests). Each of the schools has an economically disadvantaged student population of 40% or greater.
The schools will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education and winners will be announced in September, 2012.
- 2011-2013 Texas Literacy Initiative Grant Application Program
Applications for Texas Literacy Initiative (TLI) grants will be due 11/17/2011; the Notice Of Intent due date is 11/03/2011. The purpose of the grant is to improve school readiness and success in language and literacy for disadvantaged students in targeted school districts. Grant recipients will use the Literacy Lines model to implement the Texas State Literacy Plan (TSLP). The goals of the grant program include increasing the oral language and preliteracy skills of preschool children, the reading performance assessments of K–2 students, and proficiency rates of students in grades 3-12 on the state English language arts assessments; increasing the use of data to inform decision making; and increasing the implementation of effective literacy instruction through Literacy Lines. Grants will range from $200,000 to $10,000,000.
An applicants’ conference will be held by webinar on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. To reserve a webinar seat, go to https://meeting.austin.utexas.edu/srclta/. The entire applicants’ conference will be digitally recorded.
The grant application and additional information is available on the TEA website
- Student Assessment Division Update
The Student Assessment Division of TEA has new resources available of schools and districts. Many of them relate to the new assessment program, STARR - State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
TEA-produced brochures about STAAR are available, as well as a list of email notification about recent updates.
- Texas Graduation and Dropout Rates for 2010 Available
The Texas Education Agency has released its annual report on completion and dropout rates in Texas public secondary schools. In 2010, 84.3 percent of students graduated from the grade 9 cohort (students who entered 9th grade in 2006). This was 3.7 percentage points higher than for 2009 graduating class, who entered 9th grade in 2005. In addition, for each racial/ethnic group the graduation rate was higher for the class of 2010 than the class of 2009—Hispanics had an increase of 5.3 percentage points and African Americans increased by 5.0 percentage points. This was the first year for which graduation rates were reported for student subgroups.
- Condition of Education Report Available from NCES
The National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), recently released “The Condition of Education 2011,” an annual report mandated by Congress. The report examines 50 indicators in the areas of education participation, learner outcomes, student effort and educational progress, the contexts of elementary and secondary education, and the contexts of postsecondary education.
The 2011 report also features a special analysis on the status of postsecondary education in the United States and how it has changed in recent decades. To download or read about the report, visit http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/.
- Training Modules Available for TTIPS Grant
A set of four training modules consisting of voiced-over PowerPoint presentations with printed transcripts and a PDF version of the slides is available for Cycle 2 of the Texas Title I Priority Schools Grant. An FAQs document will be updated periodically to answer questions regarding the grants.
Grant applications will be due June 21, 2011. For additional information, contact the Division of NCLB Program Coordination at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas again rates highest on Achieve’s survey
The Closing the Expectations Gap report for 2011 examines all 50 states in terms of how well their high schools are preparing students for college and careers. It focuses on standards, graduation requirements, assessments, accountability, and longitudinal data systems. Once again Texas was reported to be the only state with an accountability system that includes all four of Achieve’s critical college- and career-ready indicators.
- NAEP Science Results Released
The 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for science in grades 4, 8, and 12 have been released. A representative sample of public and private school students from each of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools was tested. Student performance is summarized as average scores and as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.
Results show that 34 percent of fourth-graders, 30 percent of eighth-graders, and 21 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level. Seventy-two percent of fourth-graders, 63 percent of eighth-graders, and 60 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Basic level in science in 2009. Because the NAEP science assessment was updated in 2009 to keep the content current, the results from 2009 cannot be compared to those from previous assessment years.
Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, the report from U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences can be downloaded from the National Center for Eduction Statistics website.
- USDE Dashboard Launched
The U.S. Department of Education launched Dashboard to track progress toward meeting President Obama’s goal for the US to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The online tool provides data on indicators in four areas critical to improving education: early learning through high school, postsecondary education and training, teachers and leaders, and excellent education for all. State-by-state comparisons, as well as charts and data details are available for the various indicators. Dashboard is intended to spur conversations among educators, parents, students, and policy makers about how to improve educational results.
- Hidalgo ISD Prepares Students for College
Jobs for the Future has released a report, College Success for All, telling how one of the most economically depressed areas in the country recently graduated over 95% of it 2010 graduating class with college credits. The district is 99.5% Hispanic, 90% economically disadvantaged, and 53% limited English proficient, and it has one of the lowest numbers of of college-educated adults.
Partnering with the University of Texas, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Texas/Texas High School Project, the district began focusing on college- and career-readiness beginning in elementary school and continuing through middle school and high school. Collaborative efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, board of trustees, and partnerships with organizations and institutions of higher education helped the district overcome obstacles that had hindered student success.
- Final 2010 State Accountability Ratings
The final results for Texas schools and districts have been released, following decisions made on appeals. Approximately one third of the 203 appeals by districts and campuses were granted. This resulted in eight campuses and two districts moving up to the Exemplary rating.
The Division of Performance Reporting’s web site for the accountability rating system provides links to download raw data, summaries, and ratings lists statewide as well as for districts, counties, regions, and school types.
This site does not include AYP (adequate yearly progress) ratings, which are also provided by the division. These ratings are required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Preliminary AYP results are currently available and final results should be released later this year.
- Changes in AMOA Calculations Announced
The U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Notice of Final Interpretations (2008) required TEA to change how Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) are calculated for English language proficiency assessment. TEA recently released a letter to administrators regarding those changes.
Additional letters, with information about changes in withdrawal and admissions policies, can be accessed here.
- Turning Around Low-Achieving Schools: A Blueprint for Reform
In July 2010, SEDL hosted a forum on school improvement and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This meeting was intended to provide an opportunity for teams from state departments of education to learn more about the ESEA Blueprint through a presentation from, and discussion with, Dr. Carl Harris, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and Ms. Kandace Jones, Special Assistant for School Turnaround at the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information see: http://www.sedl.org/blueprint/index.html
- Texas Accountability Ratings Available
Test results for the 2009–2010 school year have been posted on TEA’s Web site. Data may be downloaded for districts or campuses and lists are available for state, ESC region, county, and district results. The 2010 Accountability Manual, which explains the rating system, may also be downloaded. A master reference explains the data elements that are found in the data downloads.
Statewide, performance on TAKS improved for all students and for all student groups in each area tested, as compared to 2009. Over 60% of Texas districts rated “Exemplary” or “Recognized.” Over 68% of campuses, accounting for 75% of total student enrollment, rated “Exemplary” or “Recognized”; only 1.5% of campuses rated “Academically Unacceptable.”
- ED.gov Web Site: Early Learning Initiative
The U.S. Department of Education has launched a Web site for the Early Learning Initiative, which is aimed at enhancing the quality of and increasing access to early learning programs for children from birth through 3rd grade. The site has links to programs for early learning, joint initiatives with the Department of Health and Human Services, technical assistance, and publications, as well as other resources.
- Smaller Learning Communities Grants Available
The USDE is accepting applications for funding under the Smaller Learning Communities program to improve student achievement in public high schools with over 1,000 students. The grants will be awarded for up to 5 years to use for structures such as freshman academies, schools-within-a-school, and themed academies and for strategies to increase personalization, e.g., mentoring, student advisories, family advocate systems. The deadline for applications is August 6, 2010.
- Texas Dropout Prevention Efforts Praised
This summer, Jobs for the Future will be releasing a report on dropout prevention efforts nationwide. In the report, Texas will be lauded as one of the states “that is addressing the dropout situation in a comprehensive manner.” Several bills passed by the Texas legislature have focused on measures for ensuring high school completion and TEA has based efforts toward this goal on four research-based strategies:
• Challenging, personalized learning environment
• Mentors as role models and advocates for students
• Academic support for students who are not at grade level
• Data systems to track students who need early interventions
The Texas Comprehensive Center provides its Early Warning System Tool free to Texas schools and districts. This tool tracks key ninth-grade indicators related to high school dropout, such as attendance, course failures, and GPA. It automatically calculates on-track status and flags students who are at risk of dropping out, based on the key indicators.
- TEA’s Strategic Plan for 2011–2015 Released
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted its strategic plan for the next five years, listing the five priority areas that will be the agency’s focus: quality early childhood education, educator effectiveness and equity, student achievement, school support, and data quality. In addition to the TEA’s goals and strategies, the plan outlines funding available for education in Texas and anticipated impact of federal and state statutory changes. It also provides information on demographic and economic trends in the state and describes the agency’s information technology planning.
- Nation’s Report Card 2009 Now Available
The National Center for Education Statistics has released the results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), covering arts, civics, economics, mathematics, reading, science, U.S. history, and writing. The test is administered every two years and is overseen by the National Assessment Governing Board. The results can be accessed from the Web site for the Nation’s Report Card.
- Promise Neighborhood Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Education has announced availability of funding for 1-year planning grants of up to $500,000 as part of its effort to fight poverty in urban and rural areas. The funds (applications are due June 25, 2010) are for nonprofit organizations to plan for implementing a continuum of cradle-through-college-to-career services to improve educational and developmental outcomes of children in distressed neighborhoods. At a later date, funding should be available for 5-year implementation grants and additional 1-year planning grants.
The department’s Office of Innovation and Improvement will be conducting webinars on May 5 and May 10 to provide information to applicants. Registration is required.
- Free SAT/ACT Tests
As part of an effort to increase college attendance, the Texas Legislature has provided funding for free SAT/ACT testing for high school juniors. Deadline for registering for the June 5 SAT is May 5; registration for the June 12 ACT ends May 7. If a student has already registered for one of the tests (including the May 1 SAT, for which registration has already closed), the vendor will reimburse the registration fee. Registration information for the SAT is available at www.sat.collegeboard.com. Information about the ACT is available at http://www.act.org/aap/texas/. The Texas Education Agency provides additional information about the free testing program.
- Educator Credentialing Live Chat
The Texas Education Agency’s Division of Educator Credentialing recently launched a live chat system to answer questions about teacher certification. To access this user-friendly feature, look for the grey chat box located on TEA’s Educator Certification Web page.
- Draft of K–12 Standards Available for Public Comment
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices have released the draft of the K–12 standards for public comment, which must be received by April 2nd.
The standards were developed with the collaboration of teachers, school administrators, and experts to provide a consistent framework for preparing children to graduate high school ready for college and the workforce.
- Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)
The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has announced the final priorities and grant application for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The $650 million fund will support the development of path-breaking new ideas, the validation of approaches that have demonstrated promise, and the scale-up of the nation's most successful and proven education innovations. Individual school districts or groups of districts can apply for the i3 grants, and entrepreneurial nonprofits can join with school districts or a consortium of schools to submit applications, which are due in mid-May.
The Rural School and Community Trust will host a free webinar on i3 March 19th at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
- STEM Education Grants from Motorola
Motorola Foundation Innovative Generation Collaborative Grants
All requests must be partnerships between two or more non-profit organizations or schools. Maximum award is $500,000. Eligibility: U.S. non-profit organizations, schools, or school districts that are prior Motorola Foundation Innovation Generation grant recipients. Deadline for application: April 1, 2010.
Funding priority will be placed on partnerships that
— focus on a key STEM interest area
— engage students and teachers in innovative, hands-on activities
— teach not only STEM, but also innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills
— focus on girls and underrepresented minorities
— engage Motorola employees as volunteers
- Closing the Expectations Gap, 2010
The Closing the Expectations Gap report examines all 50 states in terms of how well their high schools are preparing students for college and careers. It focuses on standards, graduation requirements, assessments, accountability, and longitudinal data systems. Texas was reported to be the only state with an accountability system that includes all four of Achieve’s critical college- and career-ready indicators.
- Snapshot 2009 Available on TEA Web Site
Snapshot 2009 provides an overview of public education in Texas at the state level and for each public school district. Up to 90 items of data for each district can be browsed or downloaded for the 2008-09 school year. Summary tables provide district information in some common categories, and a peer search function permits grouping districts according to shared characteristics.
Snapshot 2010 will be available in the spring of 2011.
- Empowering Effective Teachers
In the summer of 2009, nine school districts and one coalition of Charter Management Organizations proposed strategies to improve the recruitment, placement, evaluation, retention, and support of highly effective teachers. The group identified four areas important to future success: shared leadership, vision, and commitment to action; culture of data-driven decision making; stakeholder engagement; and policies that support improvement efforts.
The first brief, Empowering Effective Teachers: Readiness for Reform, explains why districts and sites that want to develop a more effective teaching force should assess their strengths and weaknesses in those four areas and provides considerations and rubrics to help with assessment.
The second brief, Empowering Effective Teachers: Strategies for Implementing Reform, reports on strategies for implementation that were identified by site teams: adoption of multidimensional measures of teacher effectiveness; creation of better teacher evaluation tools and processes; making the tenure decision a more meaningful milestone; and the design of career pathways and differentiating compensation. It provides examples of how some sites plan to implement those strategies over the coming years.
A third brief is forthcoming.
- Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reform
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor invited stakeholders to email their suggestions on how to reform the ESEA. The committee’s first hearing, focused on charter schools, will be held this Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Stakeholders can send their input and suggestions on reauthorization to the committee at ESEAcomments@mail.house.gov. The deadline for comments is March 26, 2010. For more information, visit http://edlabor.house.gov/newsroom/2010/02/lawmakers-announce-plan-for-a.shtml.
- List of Possible Budget Cuts for TEA
Legislative leaders in January asked each state agency to compile a list of state-funded programs that could be cut to produce a 5% budget reduction. This was done to help ease a projected budget shortfall of between $10 billion and $20 billion. The TEA proposed budget cuts total about $135 million.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram carried a story on TEA’s proposed budget on February 16, 2010.
- Texas Graduation Requirements
This TEA Web site provides links to a number of documents relating to the changes in graduation requirements that were made to the Texas Administrative Code by the State Board of Education. These changes will be effective beginning in the 2010-11 school year. The site also provides access to information about House Bill 3, passed by the 81st Texas Legislature.
The Texas Education Today newsletter for January features a centerfold chart summarizing the new requirements.
- School Improvement Grants (SIG)
The Center on Innovation and Improvement provides a tool to assist LEAs in selecting an intervention model and external partners for School Improvement Grants.
The USDE has produced several videos showing how some districts have successfully turned around low-performing schools using the four intervention models.
Texas Title I Priority Schools Grant Program
Only certain schools are qualified to apply for the School Improvement Grants. In accordance to USDE regulations, TEA provides the methodology and lists of qualifying schools.
A consortium of school improvement leaders in state education agencies and federal comprehensive centers developed ARRA related resources and webinars.
The - CII Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants (Jan. 20, 2010) is an aid to the successful implementation of the School Improvement Grants. The School Improvement Grants are targeted to rapid improvement of schools that are persistently low achieving. The handbook also provides resources and research to support school improvement.
Related PowerPoint documents:
These PowerPoint documents are from webinars hosted by USDE on January 26 and 27, 2010. They provide the new regulations for the SIG. A recording of the sessions is available at www.centerii.org/leaders.
• School Improvement Grants, Implementing the SIG Requirements
• SIG Technical Assistance: Things to Think About
• Considerations for Technical Assistance
- Texas Student Data System - Stakeholder Feedback
Texas Education Agency is introducing a new system for collecting statewide student data. They are set to begin a series of forums to collect feedback from users of the new system, including teachers, campus principals, PEIMS coordinators, and district administrators. The objective is to design user-friendly reports, tools, and screens that will provide the users of the system with timely and pertinent information about student, campus, and district performance.
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