Somerville ISD working to improve TEA status

Published: Aug. 16, 2016 at 8:12 PM CDT
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Somerville ISD wants to work with parents on improving their accreditation status with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which could be revoked without academic improvements.

For the last three years, Somerville ISD schools have failed to meet the criteria in the state's academic accountability rating system.

Rhonda Zettle has three grandchildren who attend Somerville ISD schools. Persistent problems with the school system led Zettle to consider taking them out of the school district.

"We have already talked about changing them a number of times,” said Zettle.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Somerville ISD scored below the state's requirements. They failed in three out of the four accountability categories.

The low scores led the state to change the school district's standing from "Improvement Required" to "Accredited-Warned." The new status means if things do not improve, the state could shut down the school district.

Charles Camarillo, the superintendent for the district, acknowledges that changes are necessary.

"We do take this very seriously and we will do everything we can to assure and reassure that we are going to fix this,” said Camarillo.

Faculty and staff have already discussed their weaknesses, and have determined what student demographics are in need of improvement.

"I'd say the middle school group and the special populations are some folks we really need to work with,” said Camarillo.

Camarillo said it is going to take a group effort to fix the problems.

"I need the parents to tell me if we are doing a good job, and tell me when we are not doing a good job,” said Camarillo.

Zettle said two of her grandchildren have hearing issues, and her requests for help went ignored for too long.

"Before school even started we told them, two of them have hearing problems, and one of them has to sit in the front,” said Zettle.

Her grandchildren’s needs were eventually met, but this year she wants the school district to be more proactive when it comes to parent feedback.

"I feel like they could listen to the parents a little bit better, also on the needs of the child,” said Zettle.

If the problems within Somerville ISD persist, the next step would be for the TEA to change the district status to "Accreditation Probation,” or in the worst case, change the status to "Accredited-Revoked." Should the districts accreditation be revoked, the TEA would no longer recognize the schools in the district as Texas public schools.