Transformation and Innovation schools accelerate student achievement


Results are back from the state’s 2016 STAAR 3-8 and STAAR End of Course (EOC) exams. Transformation Schools and Innovation Schools, which are under the district’s Public School Choice (PSC) initiative, showed overall positive gains in student achievement. These positive results are an early sign that the district’s PSC initiative is helping to improve student outcomes by offering an array of high-quality, specialized academic models which tap into individual student interests, learning styles, and aspirations.

The full achievement report, which can be found here, includes several analyses that “slice” the data in different ways. Each analysis shows numerous examples of double-digit increases in certain areas, a handful of improvement opportunities in particular grades and subjects that will need to be targeted next year, and a consistent overall trajectory of solid, steady gains.

“Launching brand new start-up campuses and completely re-designing existing neighborhood campuses is really hard work, so we are quite pleased with the student achievement results thus far and proud of the educators who made it happen,” said Mike Koprowski, Chief of Transformation and Innovation. “However, there is still a long way to go to ensure a high-quality, best-fit school for every child in Dallas ISD. A solid foundation has been built, but large initiatives such as Public School Choice take time and a sustained commitment to quality implementation.”

The report also includes the performance of student subgroups (Economically Disadvantaged, African-American, Hispanic, English Language Learners, Special Education), results from pilot Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) student surveys, and results from an internal evaluation report on staff perceptions of Public School Choice.

Among the main highlights:

  • When applying 2016 passing standards to last year’s results, which ensures an “apples-to-apples” comparison, 8 out of 8 Innovation Schools increased passing rates in Reading (3-8), 7 out 8 Innovation Schools increased passing rates in Math (3-8), and the only Innovation high school improved passing rates in every tested subject area. Out of all nine Innovation Schools, there were 25 instances of double-digit gains in passing rates in specific subjects and grade levels.
  • All three Transformation Schools exceeded district averages in all tested areas. Most notably, when looking at 2016 passing rates, D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School exceeded the district average in Reading by 21.5 percentage points and the district average in Math by 14.7 percentage points.
  • On an anonymous survey of campus-based staff at Transformation and Innovation Schools, which was conducted by the Department of Evaluation and Assessment, most respondents who participated in various professional development offerings found them “helpful” or “very helpful.” Specific examples include: district-led professional development (82%); external providers (92%); instructional coaching (92%); and campus-led professional development (93%).

Transformation Schools are brand new start-up schools that are open enrollment for students across the entire district. Innovation Schools are existing neighborhood schools that choose to implement a new academic model but stay in their existing facilities and continue to serve students living within their traditional attendance boundaries.

Unlike Magnet Schools, Transformation Schools and Innovation Schools do not have any academic or parental entry requirements, which means that they are open to all students regardless of academic ability. Both Transformation and Innovation Schools offer wall-to-wall, school-wide models where every student participates, as opposed to smaller programs within a larger school. Every Choice School is a high-poverty campus with the exception of Mata Montessori.

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