Mineola ISD board receives district accountability grades
By LARRY TUCKER
The Mineola school board received the state’s new accountability ratings scores for each district campus. Although the district received an overall B grade, the elementary school was given an F.
At Monday night’s board meeting Superintendent Kim Tunnell presented the grades given to the district by Texas Education Association (TEA). The district’s overall accountability rating was 85, a B, which is up from the previous grade of 83. The middle school also had a B rating with a score of 82, however, the elementary/primary school posted an F with an overall score of 58.
The campus report cards are based largely on the STAAR test. STAAR is the acronym for State of Texas Assessments and Academic Readiness.
“The F is not a reflection of our students and teachers. We don’t have F students or F teachers,” Tunnell said. “This is related to one day’s testing for the kids and it is only one piece of student achievement. The success of our students and our staff is measured on more than one test score.”
Tunnell explained the grading system. High school grading is based on STAAR testing as well as college, career and military readiness while the elementary scores are based on STAAR testing exclusively.
“Where we had difficulty and fell short was at our elementary campus. Student achievement was a 65 and student growth at 63. Because of domain three, the closing the gap score, not meeting those targets for individual subgroups had a score of 43 which made the overall score a 58,” Tunnell noted. “The Primary School is Pre-K through second grade and no testing is done for STAAR. If there is no STAAR testing they have to be paired with another campus and ours is paired with the elementary school.
“Because of the performance of the elementary school and that overall grade an improvement process is required by the Texas Education Agency. It applies to both the elementary and primary schools where they both will have improvement plans. We have to know the kids and know where their weaknesses are. We have to raise expectations in the classroom starting in the primary school as they prepare to go into the third grade.”
Tunnell reported on the first few days of school. “Things have gone really well for the first week of school. The traffic flow has been good and it helped make a smooth start to school,” Tunnell reported.
Opening day numbers found 1,578 students which had already grown to 1,612 this week. “We will see some more kids come in after Labor Day, but it should level out,” Tunnell added.
Director of Special Programs Mark Parkerson gave an update on the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and the new facility. “We are excited about what is going on with our CTE program. In another week or two we want to get it opened up so you guys can see it,” Parkerson explained. “We have started purchasing our equipment. Our kids are really excited about moving in.” The Mineola CTE program is available to students from other schools in the area.
The public forum was next and Warren Brown from the Mineola Foundation read a statement from Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron about the CTE effort in the district. “The students have the opportunity to not only develop their academic knowledge, but they can also gain technical experience all while working on the career of their choice. It’s an absolute win-win situation for both the students and parents,” Hebron stated. “I believe the CTE program is a very worthwhile investment in the education and training of our children. In addition to classroom instruction, the student is able to learn skills to advance him/her in their career of choice and to prepare them for the job market.”
In another matter, the board awarded the 2019-20 waste disposal bid to Republic Services which will be a total of $931 per month.
Tunnell reported on summer maintenance projects. There were 40 projects for the summer with 33 completed, three in progress and four to be done this fall. Tunnell also said air conditioners were replaced at the annex, in the drama department and at the field house training room.
In another matter, the board accepted the resignation of trainer Jason Thomas and approved hiring an additional fifth grade teacher. Fifth grade numbers were the highest of all the grades at 142 students on the first day.
Finance director William Bjork reported 97% in tax collections and 99% in delinquent collections.