District earns its highest TEA score through student, teacher dedication, determination

Bryan ISD received a rating of 86 from the Texas Education Agency for the 2022 accountability ratings. This is the highest rating the district has received and was additionally awarded a 92 for college, career, and military readiness and a 91% graduation rate.

“The outcomes that we receive through the state accountability system are reflective of the work that [students] have done over an entire school year,” Dr.Barbara Ybarra, associate superintendent of teaching and learning said, “Plus all the time [students] have spent getting to that moment.”

The TEA rating system is built on three different domains: The first covers graduation rates and STAAR and EOC performance, the second looks at how much students grew from last year to the current year, and the third looks at how well schools are doing with each demographic. These all came together to form the final score.

“When we look at accountability in the state of Texas it can be a little overwhelming, and a little complicated,” Ybarra said. “In a sense, they just want to know how we are doing in terms of academic performance, but also how are we doing in terms of student growth. When you see that number of 86, it’s not a singular test. It’s actually multiple measures of data and different bits of information that all come together to give you the overall score of an 86.”

In 2019, the district scored a 79, followed by two years of rating exemption due to COVID and the declared state of emergency. In contrast, the latest TEA rating places Bryan ISD at 7% higher than in previous years which was affected by multiple factors.

“A lot of different things play into that increase from the 79 all the way up to the 86,” Ybarra said. “Some of the biggest levers that helped us move forward were the graduation rate, college career and military readiness, and student growth on STAAR assessments and EOCs.”

This year, the district as a whole scored a 92 for college and career readiness. Ybarra recognizes the hard work that went into this score increase from everybody involved.

“That is the work of all of our high school students, families, and staff,” Ybarra said. “We started looking at our ninth-grade students and how we can partner with each one and their parents and make sure that is a known priority and they have a declared pathway of how they’re going to achieve military and career success.”

Offering advanced academics and career-technology education (CTE) classes along with allowing students to take the SAT and PSAT free of charge have furthered the district’s success in the last few years.

“We want to ensure that every student grows while they’re with us, so you’ll see schools and teachers looking at MAP growth to ensure that we’re on track,” Ybarra said. “That’s part of the reason why we do the MAP assessment. The measures of academic progress are that we know at the beginning of the year what you’re ready to learn next and how can we make sure that we’re customizing our instruction to take each student as far as we possibly can in the time that we have with them.”

Principal Lane Buban agrees that the effort of students and staff has directly contributed to the increase in TEA rating and overall academic success.

“I feel like [our focus on reading and English] helped us get where we ended up with our accountability,” Buban said. “Our counselors do a good job monitoring for career, college readiness, and military. I know we earned at least one distinction this year, which we haven’t done in a while, and something I don’t think a lot of schools did, which is something I’m pretty proud of too.”

Buban also knows that the school showed gains in achievement by covering the gaps in learning caused by the lack of a common language for English language learners.

“It makes me feel really proud to be part of a team that accepted a challenge, took it on, and persevered through all of that because it was a hard year,” Buban said. “I think we did better than anticipated. It speaks a lot to our teachers across the campus, not just in your tested subjects, but there were a lot of things going on in other classes outside of the tested subjects that were helping to make that happen. It really does make me proud to be part of a team that isn’t afraid of challenges, taking it head on, and meeting those challenges.”

English Instructional Coach Katie McElroy agrees that the teachers and students both rose to the challenges last year but knows that they will have to continue to adapt moving forward.

“They just kept on keeping on even when times were tough,” McElroy said. “I was super proud of them for continuing even when things did get tough. We have to grow with our kids. As the kids change and grow we have to change the way we do things too. I think that’s what we push more than anything: instead of giving up, let’s try something different. The state test is changing, so we’re going to have to continue to change too. Our main goal is to keep being flexible and willing to do different things.”

Buban’s goal for the campus is to keep pushing students to achieve more and grow as individuals.

“This year, I think it’s a continued focus on what we were focusing on the previous year,” Buban said, “However, one of the things that we’re going to push hard on to is just continuous student growth and growing students from where they are. Meeting them where they’re at and taking them to where we can get them is important. If kids are failing, we get them to passing. If kids are passing, we get them to advanced and to continue to accelerate through learning.”