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The state uses free and reduced lunches to determine how many students are economically disadvantaged. (Stock Photo)

Poverty rating key factor in state’s grade of “F” to Huntsville school district

Part 2 – Looking at poverty, and the data behind HISD’s “F” Grade

Rich Heiland

By Rich Heiland

Free Press Publications, LLC

For Walker County News Today

 

 “ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED.”

            When you dive into the data behind the Texas Education Association’s  accountability report cards for school districts, that category jumps out when you come to Huntsville, which received an “F” for an overall grade.

As noted in our first installment a student is considered economically disadvantaged if their family asks for free and reduced meals, which requires being below Federal poverty guidelines. The number of students at that level for the district is at 48 percent.

As a city, Huntsville shows up as “poor” when you compare it with other Texas cities. That is hard for some to accept when what most people see when driving around is, if not affluence, solid middle class living. But, according to statisicalatlas.com, which parses census data, income tells a story.

The average income for white families is $32,400; Hispanic, $28,500 and African-American, $13,200.That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of families and individuals in each category doing better, but taken overall, Huntsville has a lot of people existing at or below poverty guidelines and the reality of that shows up in the schools. And, it shows up in performance. That will get a look in a later installment, but data is included in this post.

Here is a look at the HISD and each of its schools based on the groupings used by the TEA:

HISDOverall Score “F” (58thpercentile out of 100) Improvement Required

Total Students: 8,257  Teachers 400  Ratio = 26

Student Achievement – D (65/100) Met Standard

School Progress – D (60/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – F (42/100) Improvement Required

STARR Text Outcomes:  Reading, Math, Science, etc 60/100

Career Readiness (Career, college, military): 71/100

On-Time Graduation: 65/100) Note: When taken to five years, rate is higher.

Demographics: White 40.1; Afro-American 23.6; Hispanic 31.5; Economically Disadvantaged 48; English Language Learners 11.1.

Huntsville High School Overall F 54/100 Improvement Required

Total Students 1,774; Teachers 112.3. Ratio = 16

Student Achievement –  F (54/100) Improvement Required

School Progress – D (64/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – F (30/100) Improvement Required

Demographics:

White 38; Afro-American 26.2; Hispanic 32.9; Economically Disadvantaged 50.7; English Language Learners 8.1.

Mance Park Middle School Overall 70/100 Met Standard

Total Students 895 ; Teachers 60  Ratio =15

Student Achievement – F (64/100) Improvement Required

School Progress – C (70/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – D + (69/100) Met Standard

Demographics:

White 38; Afro-American 26.2; Hispanic 32.9; Economically Disadvantaged 50.7; English Language Learners 8.1.

Huntsville Intermediate School Overall F 54/100 Improvement Required

Total Students 915 ; Teachers 53  Ratio = 17

Student Achievement – F (57/100) Improvement Required

School Progress – D (60/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – F (39/100) Improvement Required

Demographics:

White 32.5; Afro-American 28.3; Hispanic 35.4; Economically Disadvantaged 61.5; English Language Learners 15.6.

Stewart Elementary School Overall F 52/100 Improvement Required

Total Students 507; Teachers 35  Ratio =14.4

Student Achievement – F (55/100) Improvement Required

School Progress – F (58/100) Improvement Required

Closing the Gap – F (37/100) Improvement Required

Demographics:

White 33.1; Afro-American 22.5; Hispanic 39.8; Economically Disadvantaged 64.9; English Language Learners 21.5

Samuel Houston Elementary School Overall D+ 69/100 Met Standard

Total Students 529 ; Teachers 37  Ratio = 14

Student Achievement –   F (53//100) Improvement Required

School Progress – C (70/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – D (66/100) Met Standard

Demographics:

White 32.5; Afro-American 28.3; Hispanic 35.4; Economically Disadvantaged 61.5; English Language Learners 15.6.

Scott Johnson Elementary School Overall D 69/100 Met Standard

Total Students 641 ; Teachers 42  Ratio = 15

Student Achievement –   D+ (69//100) Met Standard

School Progress – D (66/100) Met Standard

Closing the Gap – D (63/100) Met Standard

Demographics:

White 34.3; Afro-American 19.5; Hispanic 43.2; Economically Disadvantaged 63.2; English Language Learners 25.7.

Huntsville Elementary School Overall F+ 59/100 Improvement Required

Total Students 399 ; Teachers 40  Ratio = 14

Student Achievement –   F (53//100) Improvement Required

School Progress – F (58/100) Improvement Required

Closing the Gap – F (48/100) Improvement Required

Demographics:

White 36; Afro-American 24.1; Hispanic 37.1; Economically Disadvantaged 70.7; English Language Learners 25,1.

Texas Online Preparatory School Overall C 76/100 Met Standard

Note: TOPS  is an on-line partnership between a private company and HISD and offers a rigorous curriculum. Because of that it is difficult to compare its students with those in physical schools. For example, there are no school lunches so economic standards are hard to rate.

Total Students 853

Student Achievement –   C (76//100) Met Standard

School Progress – F (56/100) Improvement Required

Closing the Gap – C (76/100) Met Standard

Demographics:

73 percent of students are female; White 56.3; Afro-American 10.9; Hispanic 25.2.

This is a lot of information. In our next installment, we start connecting some dots.

Part 3 – Supt. Scott Sheppard responds to measures

Part 4 – Digging into issues inside and outside HISD

Part 5 – First part of an interview with Supt. Sheppard

Part 6 – Final installment – A new approach

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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