PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Arthur

November 21, 2013

TEA to visit PAISD

PORT ARTHUR — The Port Arthur Independent School District will receive an on-site visit from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Dec. 9-13, according to a letter Superintendent Mark Porterie received from the agency on Nov. 15.

PAISD is staged for interventions at stage 4 for bilingual education/English as a second language; stage 3 for career/technology (CTE) programs; stage 2 for special education; and stage 1 for No Child Left Behind. The TEA determined the necessity for an on-site visit through a review of Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS).

“The Port Arthur ISD was selected for an on-site review due to the identification of substantial, imminent or ongoing risk across programs monitored by the PBMAS,” the letter stated.

The agency will conduct interviews and focus group discussion with PAISD staff, review records, conduct additional fieldwork, and review data related to plan implementation. PAISD may be required to submit additional information to assist in preparation for the on-site activities, the letter said, although it did not specify what that information would be.

The on-site team will also conduct a program access review (PAR) to evaluate PAISD’s compliance with federal requirements regarding access to CTE programs and facilities. The review will include a facility inspection with PAISD staff and a review of documentation.

Additionally, four PAISD campuses — Memorial 9th Grade Academy, Travis Elementary, Washington Elementary, and Wheatley School of Early Childhood — were rated 1st Year Improvement Required in the 2013 state accountability rating system, which was recently updated per House Bill 5. The on-site team will meet with the principals to discuss targeted improvement plans approved by the commissioner.

This is not the district’s first encounter with the TEA. The agency previously investigated PAISD’s special education program during the 2008-09 academic year, and for the CTE program during 2009-10. PAISD was also identified for systemic issues with Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) reporting of student leavers in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The information that school districts are required to submit to PEIMS includes student demographic and academic performance, personnel, financial, and organizational information.

The TEA visited neighboring Beaumont Independent School District in October. However, Porterie stressed that the nature of the agency’s visit to PAISD is quite different, and said that the TEA will receive the district’s full cooperation.

“We’re trying to work on strengthening the curriculum across the board,” Porterie said. “We welcome them to come, because as they are asking us questions, we will be asking them questions.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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