opportunities for students to participate in
community service projects.
A ninth factor in assessing performance
in community and student engagement
is evaluation of the district’s record (and
the record of each campus) in compliance
with statutory reporting and policy
Working with a Local Committee
Boards and administrators are beginning to consider how the district can
evaluate performance among the eight
performance categories plus performance
in reporting and policy. The first step they
will take is to engage a local committee
to identify criteria to evaluate the factors
and the record of reporting compliance.
HB 5 does not prescribe the composition
of the local committee nor does it provide
direction about the sorts of criteria the
committee might develop, meaning that
local decision makers have discretion to
respond to the law’s requirements in a way
that works effectively for that district.
In most areas of the state, district leaders will work with the local committee to
guide decisions about what and how to
evaluate, aiming to comply with the new
law and, at the same time, accommodate
local circumstances. Involvement of local
committee members will lend credibility
to the evaluation and the resulting ratings.
What Comes Next?
TEA has not made requirements or
prescriptions available to school districts
to help them initiate the evaluation of
community and student engagement,
so the best place for districts to start is
to familiarize board members, citizens,
administrators, and instructional leaders
with the requirements of Section 46 of HB
5 (Section 39.0545 of the Texas Educa-
tion Code). This can be done through
presentations at school board meetings,
to parent organizations, and at meetings
of instructional staff; through newsletters;
and through use of social media.
Another task is to create a local com-
mittee. There are no specifications for
committee size or membership, so com-
mon sense should be the starting point.
The board and superintendent might
turn to an existing committee, such as
the district planning and decision mak-
ing committee, to serve in this capacity. A
different approach would be for the board
and superintendent to convene representa-
tives from stakeholder groups—parents,
students, educators, administrators, board
members, business partners, other local
governments, and community organiza-
tions—to serve as the local committee
or to advise the district on the preferred
composition of the local committee.
Some districts have advisory groups that
could be charged with serving as the local
committee for evaluating community and
student engagement as an additional task.
Once the committee is in place, dis-
trict leadership may prefer to work with
the committee to help it complete the task
of specifying criteria for the eight factors
plus criteria for performance in reporting
and policy. If district leaders prefer to let
the local committee develop its own work,
administrative support may be needed
to help the committee complete its tasks.
The legislation is silent on how often the
local committee should meet and whether
its meetings should be posted in accor-
dance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The committee members may be able to
establish a work calendar, and the school
district’s attorney may advise the district
about how to inform the public about the
work of the local committee.
The big task for the local committee is
identifying the criteria for the eight perfor-
mance categories and the
criteria for performance in
reporting and policy. For
example, in setting criteria
for the fine arts category,
the local committee may
decide to identify student
participation in arts shows
or productions as criteria to
measure. In another example,
a local committee could set
criteria for dropout preven-
tion strategies by setting a participation
standard for each prevention program.
Or the local committee might call for an
expected annual improvement in
course and grade completion by
students served in dropout prevention
The criteria set by the local committee may include standards or goals against
which to evaluate the district and campuses. Some criteria may be satisfied by
surveys, some by gathering participation
and attendance information, and some
by observing the presence or absence of
an important factor. It is clear that the
opportunities for deciding what to evaluate and how to evaluate community and
student engagement are wide-ranging.
It is unlikely that districts will create an
ideal evaluation system in their first efforts, so it might make sense to view the
2013-14 school year as a starting point,
with the expectation that the local committee will refine the evaluation criteria
after the 2013-14 ratings are shared with
the public and TEA.
Once the district has the local criteria
to use for each performance category, it
will undertake an evaluation of district
and campus performance on each category. The task of counting, measuring, and
observing is likely to be led by district and
campus administration, but it could be
assigned to an external organization that
conducts evaluations and assessments.
The district reports the results to TEA,
but HB 5 is silent on the subject of how
the report is designed. The commissioner
of education may provide direction for
reports through the rule-making process
during the 2013-14 school year.
With the flexibility offered by HB 5,
districts and their stakeholders can exercise local control over the evaluation of
community and student engagement, tailoring the evaluation process to unique local circumstances. This new requirement
offers an unusual opportunity for Texas
school districts to tout their successes
and identify their challenges in ways that
reflect the expectations and preferences
of the community that the district and
Catherine Clark is TASB associate executive director of Governance Services. Kristin
McGuire is a policy consultant for TASB