HOUSTON — The Houston Independent School District saw a massive improvement in its school accountability ratings released Monday by the Texas Education Agency.
Editorial note: The above video is from a related story involving HISD.
It’s the first time since 2019 that the school district received its grades after two straight school years of no grading due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Millard House II spoke out about the ratings Monday afternoon.
"I'm extremely proud to say that HISD is moving in the right direction, the ship is turning," said House.
While the district remained at a B, just like it did in 2019, the district saw massive improvement across the board. Nearly 94% of the schools received a passing grade versus 82% in 2019.
The biggest improvement came at Osborne Elementary. It jumped from a failing score of 59 to an A rating of 96.
"79 HISD campuses increased their ratings by 10 or more points," said House.
Major progress also at Henry Middle School. After four years of failing performance and a D in 2019, it earned a C this year.
But the most eye-catching grade delivered to Wheatley High School in Houston's Fifth Ward. It's a campus that's been at the center of HISD's challenges and prompted the real possibility of a state takeover years ago. After 8 years of failing, low performance, Wheatley earned a passing grade of C.
"This is not only huge for Wheatley, but for the Wheatley community and the neighborhood around it," said House. \
According to the report, 17 schools were not rated for 2022. While some schools aren't graded for various reasons, only 10 schools received no rating due to their grade, meaning they would’ve been in the failing range in 2019 prior to Senate Bill 1365 passing.
SB 1365, which was passed in 2021, gives a 'not rated' score to campuses or districts that received scores lower than 70. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said the bill allows schools the time to recover from their failing grade, instead of being at risk for intervention.
"They do not formally receive a D or an F label because we want to make sure the system has time to recover," Morath said.
That number encompasses schools that would’ve received a D or F under the old grading system. By the old standard, 50 HISD schools would’ve received no grade under 2019’s ratings.
Superintendent Millard House II teased the announcement on Twitter Saturday saying, “I have a secret that I have to hold onto for just a little bit longer, but I am extremely excited to share the good news about our schools with the @HoustonISD community on Monday.”
Watch HISD superintendent Millard House II react to the TEA's grade ranking below:
In 2019, four schools were at risk of being closed or run by an outside group due to consecutive years with poor scores. Those schools were Highland Heights Elementary School, Henry Middle School, Kashmere High School, and Wheatley High School.
For 2022, only Highland Heights Elementary School did not receive a grade, falling one point short of a passing score with a 69 overall. Still, Highland Heights saw an improvement from 2019, when it scored a 64.
Now as a new school year begins next week, Superintendent House says 90% of its teacher positions are filled, but it remains one of many challenges ahead as the district works to use this momentum to keep moving forward.
"While we saw strides in the right direction, the state is moving the bar higher for next school year, so there's work to do and we're willing to get it done," said House.
Here's how HISD schools were graded:
- A: 96 schools
- Elementary schools: 39
- Middle schools: 31
- High schools: 26
- B: 117 schools
- Elementary schools: 115
- Middle schools: 2
- C: 43 schools
- Elementary schools: 25
- Middle schools: 6
- High schools: 12
- Not Rated: 17
- Elementary schools: 10
- Middle schools: 2
- High schools: 5
Here are the 10 schools that were not rated for 2022 under SB 1365:
- B.C. Elemore Elementary
- Highland Heights Elementary
- Roland P. Harris Elementary
- Woodson PK-5 Leadership Academy
- Forest Brook Middle School
- McReynolds Middle School
- Paul Revere Middle School
- Jack Yates High School
- Kashmere High School
- Community Services K-12