When you look at the most recent Texas Education Agency ratings involving schools across the state, there are some clear examples of what’s working and not working, but in Kerrville, B.T. Wilson Sixth Grade School’s performance was a head-scratcher to many of us.
Tivy High School, Hal Peterson Middle School and the Kerrville Independent School District’s elementary schools all performed admirably on the state’s new letter-grade system of accountability, but the outlier was B.T. Wilson, which earned a D grade. In fact, it was near failing in many areas.
Like any good school district, and we have confidence in the KISD, officials put together a comprehensive plan to pull the school out from the mud of a D grade. District officials also had to do it fast, including changing cultural issues at the school and giving attention to how it educates minority students. The 2018-19 report also included an F grade for “closing the gaps” in education of all of its students — regardless of ethnicity.
Now, it’s easy to blame the staff and school district officials for this shortfall, but it’s become clear to us that parent complacency is part of the issue.
Last week, KISD officials held a well publicized event at the school to unveil its plan to improve B.T. Wilson, and from our count, fewer than 10 parents took the time to attend. That is discouraging.
We can’t expect academic achievement if we put all of the weight of performance on the shoulders of the teachers, instructional aides, support staff and administrators. It has to be an effort that is supported by our most important educational stakeholders — parents.
No rating system is perfect; they are guides to chart how we’re doing as a community when it comes to educating our children. It’s incumbent on all of us to understand this and do our part, but it’s troubling that so few parents felt that it was important to be involved as school and district staff advance an improvement plan that will impact their children.
We have high hopes that the school district’s plan will make improvements for B.T. Wilson students, along with maintaining the quality that we expect for all grade levels. But we can’t help but feel that the lack of parental involvement is a troubling sign as children make their way through the school system in the coming years.