DUMAS, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – When the Texas Education Agency released the 2022 A-F accountability ratings in August, officials reported that 25% of districts and 33% of campuses in the state improved their letter grades from 2019, the last time the ratings were given. In Dumas, Sunset Elementary was among those schools with the most drastic turnarounds.

In 2019, according to the TEA accountability data, Dumas ISD’s Sunset Elementary was identified for “targeted support and improvement.” The elementary school scored an “F” in three out of four rating categories, including its “Overall” score, “Student Achievement,” and “School Progress.” The campus’ only rating category to reach a “D” score was “Closing the Gaps.”

via the TEA

As to how those scores were assigned, the TEA published an overview chart of the 2019 State Accountability System, detailing what aspects of each district or campus were weighed under what category, and how much that impacted each overall rating. For elementary schools, the scores for each category were calculated using the information on STAAR Performance, Academic Growth, and Relative Performance alongside the “Closing the Gaps” data.

According to the TEA’s 2019 Accountability Manual, Sunset Elementary receiving a low rating meant that it was required to follow “directives from the commissioner designed to remedy the identified concerns,” and lower-income schools may also be eligible to receive grant funding in order to pursue improvement efforts.

The TEA also noted that Sunset Elementary is also considered a “high-poverty” campus, meaning over 80% of its attending students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Of the 302 students who attend Sunset Elementary, according to the TEA’s 2022 data, 86.4% were considered economically disadvantaged.

However, TEA officials highlighted that in 2022, 18% of Texas’ high-poverty campuses were able to reach an “A” rating of 90 or above. Sunset Elementary was one of those campuses, leaping from an “F” to an “A” in the second-highest increase among high-poverty elementary schools in the state. Sunset Elementary was also one of two of those high-poverty elementary schools to have at least a 30-point score increase in Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps.

via the TEA

Among all of the Texas campuses that were rated in both 2019 and 2022, according to the TEA, Sunset Elementary had the ninth-highest increase in its overall score with a 36-point jump, the second-highest jump in student achievement, and a “perfect score” in Closing the Gaps.

The TEA lauded the accomplishment of Sunset Elementary as well as the other high-scoring high-poverty campuses in Texas, stating, “The performance of these schools proves to us that demographics do not equal destiny.”

The TEA said that detailed school ratings and profile information, as well as comparison tools and other resources, can be found on the Texas schools website.