RISD applies for Texas High Performance Schools Consortium

Roscoe ISD (Independent School District) has applied for the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium through the TEA (Texas Education Agency).The Consortium, according to the TEA website, is "a group of up to 20 districts and open-enrollment charter schools charged with informing the governor, legislature, and commissioner of education concerning methods for transforming public schools through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards, assessment, and accountability systems."Four principles will be addressed by the Consortium: digital learning--which includes electronic materials, learning standards to help students become successful "in a competitive post-secondary environment", multiple assessments in regards to student progress and learning, and local control in order for input and involvement at the local level.Consortium participants will also help the commissioner develop reports on recommendations, performance and the progress of the Consortium to the governor and legislature, the website explained.The commissioner will make a varied selection for the participants and will consider district type, size, student demographics and the quality of proposals. The total number of participants is limited to no more than 249,000 students, which equates to 5% of the total number of students enrolled in Texas public schools.Applicants must meet certain criteria for eligibility. The district and its campuses must have received a performance rating of either Academically Acceptable, Recognized or Exemplary in the 2010-11 state accountability system; the district or one of its campuses must also have received national, statewide or regional acknowledgment from an organization relying on expertise in the field of education for excellence in either academic performances or innovative practices in one of the areas described by the Consortium principles.Open-enrollment charter schools must have earned an Exemplary rating, and all applicants must be complying with the TEA audit requirements from the Texas Education Code. Applicants must also meet certain criteria that is laid out in the Consortium Request for Application (RFA), and they may select which of their campuses will participate in the Consortium.Applications were first made available at the end of April of this year. A webinar was held on June 4, with a three-day opportunity for applicants to submit clarifying questions, which were later published on June 11. The applications for the Consortium were due on June 29 by 5 p.m. with a required $500 application fee. Approval from the applying district's board of trustees must have been obtained prior to submission.Jacob Tiemann, principal of the Roscoe Collegiate High School, stated, "In May 58% of our graduating class earned their associate's degree two weeks prior to earning their high school diploma. What education looks like in Texas is changing and in the current environment that schools are operating in, we feel it is critical to assume a leadership role in developing the next accountability system. "Other schools who have applied for the Consortium along with Roscoe ISD include Brownwood ISD, Lewisville ISD and Harlingen CISD. The announcement of who will be part of the Consortium will be made in August.