FROM STAFF REPORTS
BURNET — Despite a more “rigorous” set of standards this past academic year, the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District students and staff nailed their studies.
“We are very pleased that our district and all the campuses met standard on the more rigorous state accountability system,” said Burnet CISD superintendent Keith McBurnett. “We’re very pleased with Bertram Elementary, R.J. Richey Elementary and Burnet High School for receiving distinction designations.”
The Texas Education Agency upped the ante the past two years with new academic standards and the State of Texas Academic Assessments of Academic Readiness exams. But the state made some adjustments as well. In years past, a campus or a district could earn four ratings: unacceptable, acceptable, recognized or exemplary.
Under the new accountability standards, a district or a campus earns either a “met standard” or “improvement required.”
McBurnett added that the state also adjusted the way a campus or a district is rated. In previous accountability system, if a district or campus dropped below “acceptable” standards in one of the 30 or so measures, it could drag the district or the campus down a rating or even mean an “unacceptable” moniker, he said. This could happen even if the rest of the measures hit the “acceptable” or higher ratings.
The new system has four indexes at which the state looks.
“This system is more equitable,” McBurnett added.
The state does include a way a district or a campus can earn distinction designations for high performances in specific areas. The TEA awards distinction designations in reading/English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. All but the postsecondary readiness honor are campus designations, while campuses and districts can earn the postsecondary readiness recognition.
In BCISD, Burnet High School earned distinction designations for Academic Achievement in Math and Postsecondary Readiness. Bertram Elementary earned distinction designations for Academic Achievement in Reading, Academic Achievement in Math, Top 25 percent Student Progress and Postsecondary Readiness.
R.J. Richey Elementary earned Academic Achievement in Math and Academic Achievement in Science.
McBurnett said the campuses earn distinctions by being in the top 25 percent of performance in those areas within a comparison group of 40 similar schools and campuses.
“(The designations) says in campuses that look like Burnet High School, Burnet High School is doing very well in academic achievement areas of math and postsecondary readiness,” the superintendent said regarding how the state uses the designations.
As for the success of the campuses and the district, McBurnett credited the teachers and staff for not only how they provided instruction to the students but also how they stepped in when they found a student struggling.
The recent TEA honors, however, are only a stepping stone to where the district is going.
“We’re very pleased with our results per the accountability system,” McBurnett said. “With that said, I tell people we’re never fully satisfied until all of our students are achieving at the highest level possible.”
Go to www.tea.state.tx.us for more on the accountability system and ratings.