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Texas Legislature's HB5 Results in New Graduation Requirements & School Ratings System

May 5, 2014

Plano ISD Leaders Explain Changes During April 24 Key Communicators Meeting

The Texas Legislature's passage of House Bill 5 last year has resulted in new graduation requirements and a new Community and Student Engagement Accountability System (CSEAS) for rating schools and districts. Plano ISD leaders explained these new programs at the April 24 meeting of the district's Key Communicators group.

 

Watch this video video (Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes) featuring presentations about new graduation requirements and the new CSEAS rating system. The video opens with the graduation requirements presentation. The CSEAS presentation begins at approximately the half-way mark in this video.

New Graduation Plan Emphasizes 'Student and Family Choice' for Course Pathways and Endorsements

Dr. Jim Wussow, assistant superintendent for academic services, presented HB5's new graduation requirements PDF to the key communicators group. "This is one of those landmark legislative bills that comes along every few decades and it's something that's wide reaching," noted Dr. Wussow.

Explaining that HB5 changed testing requirements, Dr. Wussow said, "We went from 15 end-of-course tests to a much smaller number. Many of the changes were based on feedback from the general public."

"HB5 includes such sweeping reform that it's moved the marker far from where it had been," said Dr. Wussow. He noted that Plano ISD has been preparing for these changes for the past year both by working to help shape legislation and by responding to it.

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Dr. Jim Wussow, assistant superintendent for academic services, presented a visual summary of the new foundation endorsement graduation plan but it's not exactly an exact representation of how the new requirements are translating to Plano ISD. (View larger image)

Plano ISD has made a few adjustments to the state's graduation plan, "where there was liberty to do so," said Dr. Wussow.

Plano ISD has combined the foundation plan (outlined in the gray area on the above chart) and in the endorsements (orange areas on the chart) into a single plan called the "foundation endorsement graduation plan." The Plano ISD plan requires 24 credits, not 22 credits, for graduation.

"We feel it's the mission of Plano ISD for students to take additional courses and to gather as much experience as possible to prepare them for post-graduation success," said Dr. Wussow.

The graduation plan in place in Plano ISD for approximately the past 10 years has been called a "four by four" plan. Four years were required in the core subjects of math, science, English and social studies. "We didn't lose the four by four plan," Dr. Wussow noted. "Rather, we changed the course choices available for students so they can be based on their interests and future career goals. This graduation plan helps students to focus earlier and engages families and learners to make informed choices."

Presenter

Dr. Jim Wussow presented information about new graduation requirements to Plano ISD Key Communicators on April 24.

How these choices translate into course pathways is driven by Plano ISD's course offerings, which are outlined in course catalogs available on the district website. Course catalogs referenced by students vary based on when students enrolled in the ninth grade.

To qualify for "Top 10% Recommendation" for universities, students must complete an endorsement and other requirements. Areas of specialization are outlined in the endorsement requirements. "Fortunately, in Plano ISD, students have access to a robust curriculum with many course offerings, so they can obtain more than one endorsement, if they choose." noted Dr. Wussow.

In addition to reviewing details of the new graduation requirements, Dr. Wussow answered questions of the Key Communicators during the meeting. Students and parents can learn more by watching the video presentation (above) and discussing the new graduation requirements with their school guidance counselors.

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Community and Student Engagement Accountability System (CSEAS)

Dr. Paul Dabbs, assistant director for research and campus data support, explained to the Plano ISD Key Communicator group about the new Community and Student Engagement Accountability System (CSEAS). View the CSEAS presentation PDF

Dr. Dabbs explained that, "Accountability systems for the last 20 years have been based upon state standardized tests.HB5 changes accountability rating systems for schools and districts by measuring several program areas that have meaning and relevance to our community."

PresenterDr. Paul Dabbs, assistant director for research and campus data

Requirements of HB5 state that each school district shall evaluate the district's performance and the performance of each campus and assign the district and each campus a performance rating of exemplary, recognized, acceptable or unacceptable for both overall performance and each individual evaluation factor.

Evaluation Factor Areas

  • Fine Arts
  • Wellness and Physical Education
  • Community and Parental Involvement
  • 21st Century Workforce Development Program
  • Second Language Acquisition Program
  • Digital Learning Environment
  • Dropout Prevention Strategies
  • Educational Programs for Gifted and Talented Students
  • Record of District and Campus Compliance with Statutory Reporting and Policy Requirements

Dr. Dabbs explained that the process by which Plano ISD met the HB5 requirements included formation of a CSEAS district committee which included sub-committee chairs for each factor area. Sub-committees comprised school and district staff members, school principals and PTA leaders.

Beginning in September 2013, each factor sub-committee studied existing research measures, identified community and student engagement processes then developed self-diagnostic indicators to be implemented through Plano ISD's CSEAS accountability system document.

In December 2013, the sub-committees' draft documents were thoroughly reviewed by all school principals and assistant principals who provided feedback to fine tune each of the factor area evaluation instruments. The final documents were approved by the school board this January and were ready for schools to begin implementing in February.

Chart

Campus evaluation rating system (View larger image)

Dr. Dabbs emphasized that community and student engagement accountability will be focused at the campus level and that each self-diagnostic instrument is based upon a five-point system. Schools will rate themselves from and emerging level (1 on the scale) to a high level of practice (5) in each of the factor areas, with the expected level of practice being a 3.

"As long as the integrity of the CSEAS evaluation instrument is maintained, it will reveal a great deal of information and will promote some serious, professional dialogue about what's going on at each campus that can help promote the campus within the community as well as areas that need work," said Dr. Dabbs.

Once schools have submitted the results of their factor area evaluations to the district this summer, Dr. Dabbs and his colleages in the department of assessment and accountability have a mechanism in place for determining each school's overall rating based upon the cumulative total of factor area evaluations.

Ratings for each school and the district are scheduled to be submitted to the Texas Education Agency on August 8. Dr. Dabbs said that details are still being developed regarding how the school and district ratings will be published on the district website.

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