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Public schools outperform charters

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

Charter schools in Denton County did not perform as well as public school districts in the area in 2014 accountability ratings, according to data released Friday.

Texas Education Centers, which operates four charter schools in the county, did not meet standards overall, according to the Texas Education Agency. Texas Education Centers was one of 35 charter operators in the state to not meet standards.

Overall, the four schools did meet their targets in student achievement, student progress and closing performance gaps, but fell short in the postsecondary readiness category. The postsecondary readiness index looks at graduation rates, diploma plans and other factors that were established to gauge how well students will do after high school.

Lisa Stanley, superintendent of the schools, said officials have known about problems in the Denton area and have hired a consultant to work on campus and district improvement plans.

“That was the only area where we needed improvement, but there was nothing we could really do to prevent it because it was based on data from three school years ago,” she said.

Three of the four campuses operated by Texas Education Centers were rated “improvement required” — Little Elm, Aubrey and Denton. Each of those campuses met two performance markers and missed one. Denton and Little Elm did not meet requirements in postsecondary readiness, and Aubrey did not meet requirements for closing performance gaps.

The schools will be in an odd situation in coming years, though, as Stanley said the campuses are planning to stop offering high school courses this fall. While Stanley said they intend to apply for a waiver with TEA, it could be problematic since the improvement plans wouldn’t include the area where the schools are struggling.

The Lewisville campus was the only one to meet all three standards it was assessed on.

Last year, the only Texas Education Centers campus to not meet state standards was Denton.

Then, the school met three of four requirements but fell short a few points in postsecondary readiness.

Other nontraditional schools in the area were successful in meeting state standards.

Alternative education schools in the area — Fred Moore High School in Denton, Linda Tutt High School in Sanger and Winfree Academy Charter School in Denton — all met alternative standards, which means there are modified performance markers for those schools.

Since those schools serve at-risk students, the goal is to make sure the students are proficient in state assessments in order to graduate high school, according to the TEA.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.