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Conroe ISD trustees OK elementary school improvement plan

January 19, 2018 GMT

The Conroe Independent School District Board of Trustees approved an improvement plan for an elementary campus that has received a low state accountability rating two years in a row.

At the Jan. 10 Conroe ISD board of trustees meeting, Dr. Debbie Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary schools, presented a “turnaround plan” to get the Sam Houston Elementary School campus back on track.

For two years in a row, the school has received an “improvement required” accountability rating from the Texas Education Agency. Campuses identified as “improvement required” are required by the state to develop a turnaround plan.

The goal of Sam Houston Elementary School’s turnaround plan is to have the campus receive a “met standard” rating-the highest rating a school can receive-within two years of implementation, Phillips told the board, adding that the plan would go into effect at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The plan includes adopting guided reading and “instructional rounds,” where teachers will go between classrooms and learn from each other with the purpose of growing instructional practices, Phillips explained.

The rating released by the Texas Education Agency in August shows the elementary school had failed to meet the target score for three out of four of the performance indices, including student achievement based on STAAR results, student progress and closing performance gaps.

CISD Trustee Datren Williams said he noticed the plan was more internally focused and asked whether the campus was looking at efforts toward community involvement.

Sam Houston Elementary Principal Viviana Harris, who until last year had been the principal at Anderson Elementary, said teachers and administrators had been reaching out to the children’s families.

’We’ve gone to houses and if they need anything, how can we help them to support their students?” she said. “It’s not only about the turnaround plan but it is about the whole community. We notice that a lot of times our parents don’t know how to read or write and are afraid to come to school.”

In 2017, Sam Houston Elementary School, which is in Conroe, had 795 students. About 90.1 percent of students were identified as economically disadvantaged, 54 percent as English language learners and 7.2 percent as special education students, according to data from the TEA.

About 53 percent of all students on campus were rated as “approaches grade level or above” on the 2017 STAAR Reading Assessment, 55 percent reached the same level on 2017 math assessment and 41 percent of students had met that level on the 2017 writing assessment.

The state averages for those categories were 72 percent, 79 percent and 67 percent, respectively, while district averages were 82 percent, 88 percent and 75 percent, respectively, according to data from the TEA.

DISTRICT DECIDES AGAINST MAKE-UP DAYS

Students got two unexpected snow days this year after the district closed its doors on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 due to freezing weather, ice and precipitation that hit the region dropping temperatures below freezing several days in a row. However, district officials said students will not have to make up any of those days because instructional minutes were built into the school calendar.