Updated throughout at 5:40 p.m.
Three small Bexar County charter schools received failing grades on the 2018 academic performance ratings released Wednesday by the Texas Education Agency.
Overall, results from San Antonio’s school districts and charter operators were evenly mixed. This is the first rating using letter grades rather than a pass/fail system.
None of the county’s 16 independent school districts received an F, but two received D’s: Edgewood and South San Antonio. San Antonio’s largest school districts, Northside and North East, both scored Bs. San Antonio ISD received a C.
One of the three failing charter schools, Carpe Diem, closed at the end of the 2017-2018 school year after failing to meet state standards two years in a row.
Bexar County Academy and Por Vida Academy, the other two failing charter schools, both met state standards last year.
When Texas charter schools fail three years in a row, the education commissioner can revoke its charter or decline to renew it.
Many Texas school leaders, including Northside superintendent Brian Woods, opposed the switch to a letter grade ranking system, saying it paints an incomplete, and at times unfair, picture of their schools.
Politicians and advocates who supported the letter grades said they will increase school accountability and are more easily understood by parents and students.
San Antonio ISD
District officials from SAISD said Wednesday that it is one of the fastest improving districts in the state.
SAISD has 16 campuses that failed state academic standards this year. But the district said it would have had 35 schools fail in 2017 with the new accountability system.
“Three years ago, if grades would have been put in place, our district would have been an F district. With this last year’s accountability results, we ended up at a solid C,” Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. “We’re having significant gains across — at scale in our district for the first time… for the first time we are keeping a lot of our strong talent. We’re attracting talent.”
New State Sanctions
Under new state sanctions going into effect this year, the Texas education commissioner is required to either close a school or takeover the district if the school fails state standards for five straight years.
In Bexar County, six SAISD schools and two charter schools were at risk of those sanctions.
As district officials predicted last week, four of SAISD’s at-risk campuses improved enough to meet state standards: Tafolla and Irving middle schools, and Miller and Stewart elementary schools. Rodriguez Elementary and Ogden Elementary both fell short, triggering Rodriguez’s closure at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Ogden is protected from sanctions because of a partnership with Relay Graduate School.
New Frontiers Public Schools closed its at-risk campus, and Southwest Prep’s Northwest Elementary met state standards.
No San Antonio area schools failed for a fourth consecutive year this year, which means none of the region’s schools will be at risk of mandatory sanctions next year.
Camille Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille