LUBBOCK, Texas – Every year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) gives academic accountability ratings based on state standardized test performance, graduation rates and college, career and military readiness outcomes. 

The TEA website explains:

House Bill 22 establishes three domains of indicators to evaluate the academic performance of districts and campuses: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps. It requires the commissioner to adopt rules to assign districts a rating of A, B, C, D, or F for overall performance, as well as for performance in each domain, beginning in August 2018. Campuses will receive A–F ratings beginning in August 2019.

The last assessment was in 2019 because of the pandemic, and there were only 19 Lubbock ISD (LISD) schools that had an A or B rating. Now, the 2022 reports show there are 31 schools in that high range. The number of D and F campuses also got smaller, going from 11 in 2019 to seven in 2022.

“Our campuses, our students, our teachers, our principals, they needed this success,” said Cicely Alexander, executive principal of the Lubbock Partnership Network. “It validated that my teaching isn’t in vain, every student matters, and I’m not going to give up on them.”

This celebration was for Alderson, Ervin, Hodges, Dunbar, Harwell and Estacado – all belonging to the Estacado feeder pattern.

There was a huge step up for Dunbar College Preparatory Academy going from an F in 2019 to a passing C this year. A decade worth of state-imposed sanctions are officially gone.

“A lot of folks have believed that our community couldn’t make it,” said Bill Stubblefield, LISD school board vice president. “It’s a lot of violence and terror in this community, which is an exacerbation of the stereotype, so we came in and we broke those barriers and broke through that ceiling, and this is the celebration that culminates that.”

Because of those ten years of sanctions, Dunbar was considered a TEA Improvement Required campus, meaning it did not meet accountability standards. 

“After so many years, basically the law says that a bold action has to happen,” Alexander said. “Dunbar has been a staple in the community for decades upon decades. “Dr. Kathy Rollo and the Lubbock ISD school board and the community did not want that to happen, so they took a brave step in formulating the Lubbock Partnership Network. Basically, extra state money is coming in to help support our campuses so that we can have some creative hiring and some other programs to really support our campuses.”

Dunbar’s principal, Natalie Anderson, said the school has come a long way, and you can see the difference in the classroom.

“The success and progress that our students have made has had a true positive impact on our building,” Anderson said. “You can feel it in the atmosphere with our kids, they’re excited, they want to be at school, and they believe in themselves. We really want to bring back Dunbar pride, but also having Estacado feeder pattern pride. That was something that’s been a part of our history, and it’s something that we’re really trying to bring back.”

Reyna Torres is Harwell Elementary School’s principal. She said the community’s support is a blessing.

“Without them, we couldn’t do our job,” Torres said. “Especially since we’re in such a crisis with the teacher shortage, just knowing that we have the support of the community really helps to light that fire and really help us to push on when things get hard.”

LISD as a district scored a B, improving from an 86 in 2019 to an 87 in 2022. This was also the first time since the A-F rating system began that all four LISD comprehensive high schools earned a B: Coronado, Estacado, Lubbock High, and Monterey.

Joan Y. Ervin Elementary School principal Joshlyn Cotton said the district will not stop here.

“The enthusiasm on our campuses of having met standard and making a B has just created this momentum, and we are ready for that A,” Cotton said. “Everything we do, we’re being intentional, when they walk into the campus, when they sit in the classroom, the teachers, the staff, the parents, we’re all being very intentional, because we know that A is possible. Now that we’ve reached that B, we really want to make it to that A.