Continuous School Improvement Process

In 2013, the Texas Education Agency rolled out a new accountability system developed to measure the college and career readiness of all students. This new system is driven by the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) assessments. In addition to STAAR testing, the English language readiness of students who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) are measured using the Texas English Language Proficiency System (TELPAS). State testing results are factored into the new accountability system by measuring student performance.

Schools were rated as either “Met Standard” or “Improvement Required” based on their performance in four indexes. Index 1 measured the performance of all students on the STAAR assessments. Index 2 measured the amount of growth students accomplished in one year. Index 3 measured the performance of economically disadvantaged students and students from the lowest two performing racial/ethnic groups against a fixed measure of “Advanced Academic Achievement.” Index 4 measured the percentage of students who graduated on the Recommended and Distinguished Achievement Plans, and the percentage of students who graduated in four, five, and in the case of the Lighthouse Learning Center, six years. Each of the indexes had a target score. If a campus met or exceeded the target score for an index, then they were rated as Met Standard in that index. If a campus failed to meet the target score, they were rated Improvement required in that index. If a campus was rated “Improvement Required” in any index, they were rated “Improvement Required” for the year.

In addition to being rated in the four accountability indexes, campus’ performances were also measured against a set of 84 System Safeguards that measured performance on STAAR assessments, participation in STAAR assessments, graduation and dropout rates and percentages of special education students who tested using modified or alternate assessments. If a campus missed one or more System Safeguard, they failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for the year.

Campuses that Met Standard, but missed System Safeguards, and campuses that were rated Improvement Required, regardless of the number of System Safeguards missed were all required to participate in the Texas Accountability Intervention System , or TAIS. TAIS is a system designed to help schools develop a continuous school improvement process.

In the illustration on this page, you see the framework for continuous school improvement. All schools operate within a larger context of a school district. District commitments to campuses help to build success within the school. These commitments also ensure that the campus is not working in isolation and facing improvement alone. When District Commitments are in place, the foundation is laid for successful school improvement.

Districts demonstrate their commitment to campuses in need of improvement by providing support systems. The support systems are the practical application of the vision and commitment of the district. When these support systems are institutionalized as standard operating procedures within the district, the district commitments are evident within those systems.

The key to continuous school improvement is to ensure that the factors critical to successful student performances are solidly in place. The district commitments and system supports surround those critical success factors provide the best opportunity for schools to assure quality instruction happens every day in every classroom. As campuses evaluate the root causes for low performance, they use the critical success factors to identify precisely where they need to improve. They do that through the process described in the center of the diagram illustrated above.

All of BISD’s Improvement Required campuses and campuses that Met Standard but missed one or more of the System Safeguards were required to conduct a thorough analysis of campus performance data to identify areas of concern related to student performance. Those areas of concerns, or findings, were then assimilated, reviewed and root causes were identified through a needs assessment process. As campuses identified their areas of needed improvement based on data analysis, they developed annual improvement goals. Campuses then identified strategies to meet those goals, identified the interventions they would implement to accomplish those strategies and identified the measures they would use to determine if the interventions were effective. 

All of this was compiled into a Targeted Improvement Plan that they will implement and regularly monitor and evaluate. The process repeats itself year after year as campuses accelerate instruction for students who are struggling, transform campus systems to support ongoing school improvement, and create a sustainable process for continuous school improvement.

Click here to view the Turnaround Implementation Plan for each BISD campus.

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