A note from Nancy Gribble-Tay, Head of School, regarding Goodwater's 2018 State Accountability Rating
Dear Goodwater Families,
This week the Texas Education Agency released its yearly Accountability Ratings for public schools. Goodwater Montessori School received a 48/100 score, which places us in the “Improvement Required” category.
You can see the rating here in a simple layout:
The complete data for the entire state is here:This rating is determined by student performance on the STAAR tests held last spring spring, the makeup of our student population, and how well we close achievement gaps.
We take all of our state performance ratings very seriously.
The score and rating was not unexpected by our administration and board. We knew the challenges we were facing as a new charter school using an alternative educational model.
Last year all of the students were new to the school and new to the staff. Our students had a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Some had never taken a test before. Some of our staff - even our highly-trained Montessori staff - had never taught at a public school.
The Montessori Method is a mastery-based program that follows a project-based learning model. The method is based on a 3-year cycle of learning and much of the mastery does not take place until the third year. This timeline often does not match up with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are the standards measured with STAAR.
We believe that these few testing days are but a snapshot of our students’ learning. The tests are an important tool for reflection but they are not the full measure of any student. It is important to keep in mind that at Goodwater Montessori we focus on educating the whole child in keeping with the Montessori Method.We also understand that, as a public school, we must abide by the guidelines set forth by the State of Texas in the TEKS and STAAR.
This summer we worked on aligning Montessori lessons with the TEKS so that our students are presented with the concepts put forth on the STAAR before they take the test. We will continue to help students with test-taking strategies, but we do not want them to stress about testing. We will not teach to the test. We will continue to deliver an education to our students using the Montessori Method.
After reviewing the preliminary STAAR results for the school, I presented an improvement plan to the Board of Directors in July. Some key points from that include:
- The creation of a new position – Director of Curriculum and Instruction. This position was filled by one of our Upper Elementary Guides from last year who has 3 years of experience teaching in a Title I public Montessori setting, and is familiar with addressing the TEKS, and with closing achievement gaps. This new role will also allow for more coaching and support for the staff.
- The implementation of a bench-marking and check-in schedule so that we can assess where all of our students are academically a few times a year so we can fill in those educational gaps.
- The hiring of two Special Education instructors this year who are both highly trained and experienced in meeting the needs of all types of learners in a public school setting.
- The partnership with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, an organization replete with experience and resources for public Montessori schools who must navigate the line between Montessori delivery and public school requirements.
As part of our Improvement Required rating we will be working closely with TEA to ensure that the educational needs of all of our students are met. TEA granted us the charter and they very much want to see us succeed. We view them as a support system to help our students succeed as well. We are at the beginning stages of the TEA-supported Improvement Plan and we will be transparent with our families about this process.
In closing, I want you to know that your children are wonderful students who are eager to learn every day. It is a joy to watch them in the classrooms as they are internally motivated to seek answers and learn. I have full confidence in the staff to meet the challenge of adhering to the Montessori principles while also adhering to the timeline and standards of the state.Please always feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you have.
Head of School