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22 Fort Worth Schools to Be Rated 'Academically Unacceptable'

By Chris Van Horne
|  Tuesday, Jun 7, 2011  |  Updated 6:39 PM CDT
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The state says 22 Fort Worth ISD schools are expected to be rated

Chris Van Horne, NBCDFW.com

The state says 22 Fort Worth ISD schools are expected to be rated "Academically Unacceptable."

The Fort Worth Independent School District is getting ready for some bad news.

According to state ratings, 22 schools in the city are expected to be rated "academically unacceptable."

The district said students are making progress at the schools, but the change in a state calculation and a constantly changing state standard have contributed to the results.

Many of the schools are hurt by the removal of the "Texas Projection Measure" that gives schools credit when students show improvement from year to year. If that measure was included, the district would only have three schools in the "unacceptable" category.

One of the 22 schools on that list is Eastern Hills High School, which has been unacceptable for five years.

But Principal Cherie Washington said the ranking does not tell the whole story.

"A rating does not define who we are," Washington said. "Our students are very smart, very capable, and we have some of the best teachers in this district."

This was Washington's first year at the school. She put an emphasis on meeting state standards this year by having the 2010 scores posted in a hallway outside the principal's office.

"You'll see where we were, where we're going, where we're headed," Washington said. "And I keep that because I want our students to know [the scores] and to stay focused."

Washington said the preliminary numbers that put Eastern Hills in the unacceptable category also show a 7 percent increase in students passing math. The FWISD said it's an example how progress in the raw numbers aren't reflected in the rankings.

District spokesman Clint Bond said some schools missed on out being ranked "acceptable" by just a student or two or a small group of students.

Washington said her school would have ranked acceptable if the TPM were still used.

Schools also may have ended up unacceptable because the state standard is constantly moving each year for students to reach.

"It's not that they're not gaining, it's not that they're not learning, it's not that they're not progressing -- it's that it's a moving target," Bond said of the standard.

But Washington said teachers and staff at her school and throughout the district are already working on getting students ready for next year's tests.

"Our teachers are excited at what they see," Washington said. "And it's very encouraging to know that in the near future we're going to meet that mark. It keeps climbing, but we're going to keep chasing it, so I feel, eventually, we're going to meet it."

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