ABOUT THE PROJECT

PURPOSE

Parents today are faced with many choices in public education, including traditional public schools, magnet schools and programs, and charter schools. Each option comes with its own system to navigate, and some also involve a complex application process. Building off of our annual School Rankings, CHILDREN AT RISK has developed Texas School Guide to serve as a one-stop-shop for parents as they navigate these systems.

Texas School Guide has three main goals. We hope to empower parents to:

1. Understand How Local Schools are Performing
2. Become Aware of their School Options
3. Become Advocates for High Quality Public Schools

CHILDREN AT RISK piloted this project in the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) and Fort Worth Independent School District (Fort Worth ISD) areas, and saw such an incredible need that we have expanded our website to include school data for all of the public schools across the state.

Learn more about how to use and understand this guide here, and be sure to check back regularly as this website will be updated throughout the year.

Are you interested in a printable report? You can download the PDF versions of the Dallas and Fort Worth print guides here:

2016 Texas School Guide – Dallas
2016 Texas School Guide – Fort Worth

HOW TO USE THE GUIDE

There are two main components to Texas School Guide – the School Profiles and the Parent Action Guides. The School Profiles help you understand how local schools are performing, and the Parent Action Guides provide resources to guide your decisions regarding early childhood education, higher education, school choice and parent involvement.

Use the “Search Schools Below” function on TexasSchoolGuide.org to easily search schools by district, school type, grade level, CHILDREN AT RISK grade, city, or zip code. You can also navigate the interactive map to find the high performing schools that are closest to you. On each individual school profile, CHILDREN AT RISK has provided a snapshot of school performance with the CHILDREN AT RISK Campus Profile, Report Card, State Rank, School Programs, and Gold Ribbon indicator. Below are explanations for each section you will see on each School Profile.

ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS

CAMPUS PROFILE:

ENROLLMENT – Number of students at the campus.

ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED – Percentage of students at the campus who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program.

SPECIAL EDUCATION – Percentage of students at the campus receiving special education services.

MOBILITY RATE – Percentage of students who miss 6 or more weeks of school. Higher mobility rates are correlated with lower student achievement.

STUDENT TEACHER RATIO – The number of students for every one teacher.

OTHER (IN STUDENT DIVERSITY) – “Other” is the percentage of students who are 2 or more races, Pacific Islander, or American Indian.

REPORT CARD:

STAAR MATH – ADVANCED – The percentage of students scoring at Level III Advanced on the STAAR Math exam (sum of all grades tested at the campus). This standard indicates that students are well prepared for successs after high school.

STAAR READING – ADVANCED – The percentage of students scoring at Level III Advanced on the STAAR Reading exam (sum of all grades tested at the campus). This standard indicates that students are well prepared for success after high school.

READING GAIN SCORE – Student improvement from the previous year on the STAAR Reading exam.

MATH GAIN SCORE – Student improvement from the previous year on the STAAR Math exam.

STATE RANK:

LETTER GRADE – Letter grade given to the school based on achievement, performance, and growth. A, B, or C schools are good options for student success.

GOLD RIBBON SYMBOL – This symbol indicates high-performing, high poverty schools that are traditional neighborhood campuses; magnet schools and charter schools are not included in the Gold Ribbon sub-lists. High poverty schools are identified as campuses that are more than 75% economically disadvantaged. Those campuses that receive an A or a B in the CHILDREN AT RISK rankings are considered high performing, high poverty.

PEG SYMBOL – This symbol means that a school is low performing, based on state standards. For more information, visit tea.texas.gov/PEG.aspx

STATE RANK – School’s rank out of all public elementary or middle schools in the state.

ACHIEVEMENT, PERFORMANCE, AND GROWTH INDICES – These are calculations based on STAAR scores and other information. A school’s score on these indices determines their CHILDREN AT RISK letter grade and state rank. For more information, visit texasschoolguide.org/resources

OTHER:

SCHOOL PROGRAMS – Extra programs available on school campuses. For elementary before and after school programs, you might see in parentheses the grade levels that are offered these programs.

INNOVATIVE RESOURCES – Community organizations working with or in the school.

N/A – CHILDREN AT RISK was not able to obtain this information at the time of publication. There could be multiple reasons for this: Texas Education Agency (TEA) did not provide CHILDREN AT RISK with the data. Sometimes this happens in order to protect student identification; 2015-2016 was the first year the school was operating, so there is no information available yet; or if there is no CHILDREN AT RISK Letter Grade or State Rank, it is because they have less than 190 students or TEA did not provide enough information.

HIGH SCHOOLS

CAMPUS PROFILE:

ENROLLMENT – Number of students at the campus.

ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED – Percentage of students at the campus who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program.

SPECIAL EDUCATION – Percentage of students at the campus receiving special education services.

MOBILITY RATE – Percentage of students who miss 6 or more weeks of school. Higher mobility rates are correlated with lower student achievement.

STUDENT TEACHER RATIO – The number of students for every one teacher.

OTHER (IN STUDENT DIVERSITY) – “Other” is the percentage of students who are 2 or more races, Pacific Islander, or American Indian.

REPORT CARD:

STAAR MATH – ADVANCED – The percentage of students scoring at Level III Advanced on the STAAR Math exam (sum of all grades tested at the campus). This standard indicates that students are well prepared for successs after high school.

STAAR READING – ADVANCED – The percentage of students scoring at Level III Advanced on the STAAR Reading exam (sum of all grades tested at the campus). This standard indicates that students are well prepared for success after high school.

SAT/ACT PARTICIPATION RATE – The percentage of students that took the SAT or ACT exams.

AP/IB PARTICIPATION RATE – The percentage of students that took the AP/IB exams.

AVERAGE ACT SCORE– The average of all 11th and 12th grade students’ scores on the ACT exam.

AVERAGE SAT SCORE – The average of all 11th and 12th grade students’ scores on the SAT exam.

C@R GRADUATION RATE – The percentage of students that graduated high school within 6 years. Students who went to private schools or who left the state were not excluded from these calculations.

STATE RANK:

LETTER GRADE – Letter grade given to the school based on achievement, performance, and growth. A, B, or C schools are good options for student success.

GOLD RIBBON SYMBOL – This symbol indicates high-performing, high poverty schools that are traditional neighborhood campuses; magnet schools and charter schools are not included in the Gold Ribbon sub-lists. High poverty schools are identified as campuses that are more than 75% economically disadvantaged. Those campuses that receive an A or a B in the CHILDREN AT RISK rankings are considered high performing, high poverty.

PEG SYMBOL – This symbol means that a school is low performing, based on state standards. For more information, visit tea.texas.gov/PEG.aspx

STATE RANK – School’s rank out of all public high schools in the state.

ACHIEVEMENT, PERFORMANCE, AND GROWTH INDICES – These are calculations based on STAAR scores and other information. A school’s score on these indices determines their CHILDREN AT RISK letter grade and state rank. For more information, visit texasschoolguide.org/resources

OTHER:

SCHOOL PROGRAMS – Extra programs available on school campuses. For elementary before and after school programs, you might see in parentheses the grade levels that are offered these programs.

INNOVATIVE RESOURCES – Community organizations working with or in the school.

N/A – CHILDREN AT RISK was not able to obtain this information at the time of publication. There could be multiple reasons for this: Texas Education Agency (TEA) did not provide CHILDREN AT RISK with the data. Sometimes this happens in order to protect student identification; 2015-2016 was the first year the school was operating, so there is no information available yet; or if there is no CHILDREN AT RISK Letter Grade or State Rank, it is because they have less than 190 students or TEA did not provide enough information.

CAMPUS DEFINITIONS

Here is a list of terms that appear in Texas School Guide that may be confusing or new to parents. Please contact us to let us know if you find any other terms confusing, and we will be happy to consider defining them in future editions.

Advanced Placement Courses (AP)

These challenging classes are part of the Advanced Placement (AP) Program and are offered at many high schools. AP classes are taught by highly qualified teachers, offer college-level curriculum, and end with an AP Exam. Some colleges accept high scores on AP Exams to fulfill college course credits.

Charter School

Charter schools are public schools that are not part of a local school district. They are tuition-free and open to any student within a certain location that wishes to apply. Charter schools usually use a randomized lottery system to select students.

Early Education (EE)

The Texas Education Agency provides us with the grade levels offered at each school. Early Education (EE) is a grade level for students between the ages of 0 and 5 who have not been placed in Pre-kindergarten (PK) or Kindergarten (KG). This includes students receiving special education services, students in a Head Start program, or students served by Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB Program is a challenging, focused curriculum for juniors and seniors in high schools. It offers advanced coursework and, similar to AP, involves subject tests leading to the IB Diploma. The IB Program is recognized by many universities throughout the world.

Programs and Schools of Choice (Fort Worth ISD) or Magnet Schools and Programs (Dallas ISD)

These schools have a curriculum that is aligned with a particular focus area, such as Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM), performing arts, leadership, or certain career paths. These programs require an application, and may be selective or use a lottery system.

Montessori

Montessori refers to a particular teaching method that focuses on bringing out the natural interests of a child, which is different from the more uniform teaching methods practiced in traditional public schools.

Traditional Public School

These schools are typically “neighborhood schools” that students are zoned to based on their home address. For the purpose of this guide, the traditional public school label includes all district (i.e., non-charter) schools that offer “traditional” coursework to the general student population. Traditional public schools include programs and schools of choice (Fort Worth ISD), as well as magnet schools and programs (Dallas ISD).

Higher Education

Higher education refers to different educational programs a student can take after high school, including two-year colleges, career and technical schools, and four-year universities and colleges.

School Programs

CHILDREN AT RISK reached out to every school in this guide in an attempt to obtain the information below. School program information was self-reported by a school representative or staff member, and is subject to change at any time. Be sure to call the school to confirm that they still offer a program that is important to you or your child.

Innovative Resources

CHILDREN AT RISK recognizes that there are many organizations in the community that are working to improve the experience of students in Fort Worth and Dallas public schools. These organizations and their services have been labeled “Innovative Resources” for the purpose of Texas School Guide. This information was self-reported by a school representative or staff member, and is subject to change at any time. Be sure to call the school to confirm that they still offer a program that is important to you or your child.

SCHOOL PROGRAMS / INNOVATIVE RESOURCES

SCHOOL PROGRAMS
From July 2016 to September 2016, CHILDREN AT RISK conducted a survey to identify the different assets, or “school programs,” available on individual campuses. An online survey was emailed to the school principal designated in the Texas Education Agency’s Texas Education Directory or to the school’s office manager provided by the school district. Follow-up calls were made to each campus.

School program information has been self-reported by a school representative or staff member, and is subject to change at any time. This survey was intended as an opportunity for schools to share additional information about the programs available on their campuses. CHILDREN AT RISK understands that not all schools had the time, or the resources to complete this survey.

If you are a school administrator and believe that your school’s asset data is incorrect or has not been included in this guide, please visit TexasSchoolGuide.org to update this information.

School programs included in the elementary, middle, and high school profiles are:

  • Art Classes
  • Music Classes
  • Dual Language
  • Before School Program
  • After School Program
  • Pre-K Full Day
  • Pre-K Half Day
  • Sports/Athletics
  • AP, IB, College/Dual Credit Options


INNOVATIVE RESOURCES
CHILDREN AT RISK recognizes that there are many organizations in the community that are working to improve the experience that students have in Dallas and Fort Worth public schools. These organizations and their services have been labeled Innovative Resources for the purpose of Texas School Guide. From August 2016 to September 2016, CHILDREN AT RISK called each school to ask about the community organizations that are offering programs or services in their schools.

Because this data was collected at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the schools may not have yet confirmed all of their community partners. This data was self-reported by a school representative and does not reflect all organizations or programs available in the school. For more information about these programs, contact the school or search the resource online using a search engine like www.google.com.