bisd supt blog
We are more than a letter grade!
08/15/2018

Today the Texas Education Agency labeled every school district in the state with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F based primarily on students’ performance on the 2018 STAAR tests. The Brenham Independent School District received a score of 79.2%, or a C, but we know we are much more than a mere letter grade!

 

The reduction of our district to a single letter grade fails to account for varying socioeconomic conditions that influence performance, despite the fact that the TEA promised districts they would not be penalized for high percentages of students who are served by Special Education, or are Limited English Proficient (LEP) or economically disadvantaged. Currently, 12% of Brenham ISD’s students are served by Special Education, 11.5% are LEP, and 61% are economically disadvantaged. This A-F grade only serves to compare districts and schools with very different demographics using a one-size fits all system based upon STAAR scores.

 

The letter grade system also misrepresents a large portion of what happens in our schools. In the 2017-2018 school year, our students and staff celebrated the following accomplishments and events:

 

  • A member of the Brenham High School Varsity Chorale performed with the Texas All-State Men’s Chorus
  • All CSI teams advanced to the Central Texas First Lego League Invitational
  • Brenham High School FCCLA hosted a prom closet for students who could not purchase prom attire
  • Brenham FFA Forages Team finished 2nd at the Klein FFA Alumni CDE Contest
  • Brenham Middle School hosted fourth annual National Geographic Bee
  • Brenham ISD Education Foundation raised over $22,000 at the annual Arts & Appetizers event
  • Five Brenham High School students participate in Country Girls Can Code in Austin
  • Two Brenham High School students won an Honorable Mention in the Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards - Photography Division
  • The Brenham High School Special Olympics team earned 3 medals in State Bowling at the Special Olympics of Texas Winter Games in Austin
  • A Brenham FFA candidate was selected for an office on the very first District 3, Area 11 officer team
  • Students from Brenham Junior High School participated in the Brazos Valley Regional History Fair
  • Brenham High School was selected to participate in the Google Expeditions AR Pioneer Program
  • The Brenham Middle School life skills classes traveled to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library
  • Brenham FCCLA competed at the Texas FCCLA Region IV Conference in Galveston
  • Two Brenham High School students completed the Boater Education Course provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Two Brenham Junior High School students advanced to the state science fair competition
  • A Brenham Middle School student earned 12th place in the 2018 Regional Spelling Bee
  • The Brenham High School MCJROTC earned 1st place overall at the MCJROTC Region 5 Drill Meet and 5th place overall at the National Drill Meet
  • Two Brenham High School students were invited to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine at the University of Houston
  • A Brenham Junior High School student won 1st place at the Texas Science and Engineering Fair
  • The Brenham FFA wildlife team took first place in the first annual Blinn College Invitational CDE
  • Three Brenham ISD teachers were selected as Statewide Semi-Finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education Award
  • Brenham High School hosted the first annual Cub Talks Emerging Leaders Symposium
  • Brenham High School teacher receives the CTE Showcase of Excellence Award from the Career and Technical Association of Texas
  • Brenham Junior High School tennis team placed 2nd in District, 4th in Area Zone
  • Brenham ISD board of trustees approves one-time longevity salary supplement
  • Project SEARCH celebrated a 100% employment rate
  • Brenham Junior High School teacher selected as one of twelve teachers to be a part of the 2018-2019 Connected STEM: Promoting STEM Education through Connected Devices and Building Automation Project at Texas A&M University
  • Brenham ISD board of trustees selected as TASA Region 6 Board of the Year
  • Brenham ISD director of special programs selected by the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) Board of Directors to attend the 2018-2019 TAGT Emerging Leaders Program (ELP)
  • Brenham Cubs football hosted a Green & White Scrimmage to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey
  • Brenham High School student participates in Education in Action’s summer 2017 Lone Star Leadership Academy Camp
  • Brenham ISD hosted second annual community-wide block party
  • Brenham High School teacher honored with the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year Award
  • Brenham ISD superintendent receives scholarship to attend the 25th annual Superintendent Academy at the Thompson Executive Leadership Institute in Austin
  • Brenham High School student named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program
  • Brenham High School selected as a stop for the 2017 High School Nation Tour
  • Brenham High School received the 2017 Champion of Computer Science in Community Impact Award from the Computer Science Teachers Association and Code.org
  • Brenham ISD receives perfect score on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas

 

Changes to the statewide rating system were passed during the 85th Legislature in January 2017. Although the rating system was reduced from five to three domains, those three domains are still heavily reliant on standardized test scores. In fact, elementary and middle school ratings are based entirely on performance on the STAAR tests. While we want to be accountable to our parents and stakeholders, we believe our students would be better served by a comprehensive accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, one-shot, standardized assessments. The new letter grade rating system creates a false impression about our school district. These letter grades ultimately shame our students and staff and hurt our communities.

 

I implore you to rally around our staff as they prepare for the first day of school. Please make your voice heard in support of the 800 Brenham ISD staff members who work hard every day to provide a safe, caring and rich academic environment for almost 5,000 children in this community. With your support, we will continue to provide the same quality educational programming that we have provided since 1875.

 

Walter Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


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