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Grades go up for Colorado County’s schools

August 21, 2019 - 00:00
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Last year’s report cards for Colorado County schools tended to say “need to improve.”

This year’s report cards are out, and almost every campus did just that.

The Texas Education Agency last week released its 2019 Accountability Ratings for every district and campus in the state.

Overall, both Columbus and Weimar got a grade of “B,” while Rice ISD brought home a “C.”

But a comparison with last year’s grades shows a lot of effort has gone into getting their grades up.

Of the county’s 12 schools, overall scores improved at nine campuses, they went down (by only one point) at two, and stayed the same at one. And staying the same meant keeping the highest grade in the county – a 94 for Garwood Elementary.

Two schools got an “A.” Weimar High School went from an 87 last year to a 91 this year. Garwood Elementary in the Rice district got the highest rating of all, a 94 for the second year in a row.

Columbus Elementary made the biggest improvement of any district. It went from an overall 68 last year to a solid “B” of 84 this year.

To see details on each school, go to txschools.gov.

The 85th Texas Legislature passed HB 22, establishing three factors for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses: Student Achievement, School Progress, and “Closing the Gaps.”

Each district and campus gets a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F for overall performance, as well as performance in each of the three “domains.”

This is the first year that each school gets a letter grade, while school districts first received letter grades last year. Previously, there was just a pass/ fail system, although numerical results in the various areas were reported, which could easily be translated into grades.

Out of 1,201 districts statewide that the TEA reported, only 14 got grades of “F” and only 41 got grades of “D.”

Of Colorado County schools, two, Weimar High School and Garwood Elementary, got an “A.” A “B” went to all three Columbus ISD campuses, to Weimar Junior High, to Rice High School, and to Sheridan Elementary.

Getting a “C” were Weimar Elementary, Eagle Lake Primary and Eagle Lake Intermediate.

The only campus getting a “D” was Rice Junior High. It did, however, show an improvement from last year, going from 62 to 67 this year.

The letter grades have been controversial ever since first mandated by the Legislature. Many educators say they don’t truly capture what’s happening in schools or the challenges teachers face. Supporters, however, say they give families more transparency about how their schools are doing.