This is a letter from Superintendent Jeff Bailey to Rockwall ISD parents.
Dear Rockwall ISD Parents:
As we settle into our new school year, our enrollment for K-12 is currently 14,432 students–a growth of 138 from last year. Our district welcomed 140 staff members who are new to Rockwall ISD. Each year brings excitement and new challenges as our district prepares our students for their future.
Rockwall ISD is continuing to work toward meeting the increasing standards for student achievement by making the necessary curriculum and assessment changes. Our district must improve student performance by providing a clear, articulated curriculum system and instructional focus that is tightly aligned to the state standards with concepts and skills which will be more rigorous and aligned with the state STAAR and End-of-Course tests.
The district began preparing for the 2012-2013 school year many months ago knowing the State Accountability Standards were increasing for STAAR in grades 3-8 and EOC for 9th and 10th graders. Along with the increasing accountability standards, Texas public schools will be facing another legislative session of possible funding reductions.
New Curriculum System Adopted
The new curriculum system adopted by the district is called CScope which is the only entity inside and outside of Texas that provides a comprehensive curriculum system that is aligned to the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in the four core subject areas. Currently 880 districts in the state are using this curriculum delivery system. Some larger districts such as Allen, Frisco, Plano, and McKinney have a long history of expending large amounts of funding and manpower to develop and maintain a clear curriculum focus with a well-organized inner-district curriculum. Rockwall ISD does not have the same long-standing resources as these districts. We continue to try to strengthen our curriculum department by moving part-time staff to full time positions. In tight financial times, it seems unlikely that we will be adding additional resources in the future.
New Grading Procedures
Assessing student academic performance is another important factor to determine if students are mastering the TEKS. During the 2011-2012 school year, RISD organized a district grading committee of teachers, parents, students and administrators to review our current practices and evaluate whether changes were needed. The committee recommended that the district move to a 70%/30% weighting formula for middle schools and high schools. The 70% includes tests, projects and any major summative assessments the teacher determines. The 30% includes quizzes, homework and other formative assessments the teacher determines. The committee made the decision that summative assessments measure the “what” students must master to meet the TEKS. Elementary campuses did not have a consistent grading procedure to evaluate mastery of the TEKS, so the committee recommended 50%/50% based on the learner’s age and skill level.
Meetings to Discuss Curriculum and Grading
Communication to our parents and community is always a priority to ensure they are informed. While I realize these topics have been discussed at the school board level, campus level, and through written communication sent home, we must provide parents more information. The district will schedule two evening meetings over the next couple of weeks to allow parents to hear about the district’s new curriculum and the new district grading practices. The meetings will be held on the dates and locations listed below.
- Williams Middle School – Monday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m.
- Cain Middle School – Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m.
I appreciate your support as we work through this process to help prepare our students’ academic readiness. If you would like additional information prior to the meeting, please click on the following links:
Superintendent of Schools