Houston ISD Board Agenda Highlights 02.08.24
Houston ISD Board Agenda Highlights
This Thursday, the Houston ISD Board will host their regular monthly meeting. Here’s what you need to know:
All kids deserve to graduate with both college and career opportunities that can lead to post-secondary success. Middle of year data show HISD is on the right trajectory, but college and career readiness are still relatively low across the district, leaving plenty of room to grow.
HISD is ramping up support for college and career readiness by ensuring students have access to career and technical education pathways across the district and implementing an automatic enrollment policy for students who qualify for advanced courses.
HISD continues to implement the student-centered opportunities in its District of Innovation plan by proposing an earlier start date for next school year and increasing college/career exploration opportunities for students.
Key agenda items we’re watching:
Student Outcome Monitoring – College, Career, and Military Readiness: This month, the HISD School Board will focus their goal monitoring on post-secondary success by taking a look at students who are on track to achieve Career and Technical Education (CTE) Completer status by graduation and 11th students who qualify for college credit.
Students saw a 4% increase in on-track progress for CTE Completer status from the middle of year (MOY) last year to MOY this year. All student groups saw an increase except for students with disabilities, emergent bilingual students, and Pacific Islander students. The administration’s root cause analysis currently does not address the decline for each of these student groups but we hope to see the board and administration take a closer look.
CTE Completer status is achieved when a student completes three or more courses in the same program of study with at least one credit in a higher level course. The purpose of tracking this metric is to ensure students have access to the courses and resources they need to gain skills in a career track that will lead to meaningful post-secondary opportunities.
In order to continue to increase consistent opportunities for students, the district is working to establish four Foundational Programs of Study (FPOS) across the school district. These more standardized pathways include Entrepreneurship, Networking Systems, Distribution & Logistics, and Health Informatics. The FPOS will be centrally funded for the next three school years. In addition to increasing instructional quality and student/teacher supports, another tactic the administration is pursuing is introducing SchoolLinks, a new platform where students can explore career- and college-aligned tools and scheduling support. Overall, 45% of 10th-12th graders are currently on track for CTE Completer status by graduation and the district is on track to meet this goal progress measure.
Similarly, the district is on track to meet its goal progress measure for students receiving college credit. Currently, 36% of students have already received college credit by 11th grade or have completed the first semester of a dual credit course by the middle of year (MOY). This is 14 percentage points higher than MOY last year. All student groups saw an increase for this metric, and most already met the goal target for the end of the year (EOY).
While the increase is promising, this is still a low percentage of HISD students who are demonstrating college-ready skills. Notably, college credit attainment continues to lag behind career-focused credits for students of color and economically disadvantaged students. Considering we want all students to graduate with both college and career opportunities, this should continue to be an area of focus for the district.
Students are able to earn college credit through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Credit, or Dual Enrollment Courses. Additional data show that students who qualify for advanced courses are not always enrolled in them. For example, 30% of students who qualify for English dual credit courses based on their scores on college-aligned assessments were not enrolled in an advanced English course.
To correct this gap, HISD is moving to an opt-out system for advanced courses, meaning students will automatically be enrolled in an advanced course if they qualify. Parents can still opt their student out, but the opt-out policy will ensure students who are prepared to take advanced courses are given the opportunity to do so. We believe this is an important step for HISD in increasing access to advanced courses and supporting college readiness. In order to further support students, the district has increased access to college courses, including UT OnRamps dual enrollment courses, which are now available at 35 campuses.
Special Education Outcome Goal: The Board plans to update its goal for special education to include goal targets based on newly released state accountability data. This is the second and final reading of this proposed change and if approved, it will pass into policy. The district is proposing a 15% increase in academic growth over the next five years. The 15% mimics growth targets for previous goals and is an ambitious goal for the district. Notably, special education compliance is one of the three criteria that must be met for the district to transition back to an elected school board.
Excused Absences for College and Career Visits: The district is updating their policy to provide students with additional opportunities to visit colleges and professional workplaces in line with new state law and HISD’s District of Innovation (DOI) plan.
2024-2025 School Calendar: HISD is continuing to implement student-focused policies from the district’s DOI plan through the proposed academic calendar for next school year. Students will begin school on August 12, 2024, a full two weeks earlier than they would have been able to without DOI status. Overall, the calendar includes 180 days of instructional time for students.