Crosby Superintendent evaluates the first 4-day year

Hello East Harris County and Crosby ISD families,

I wanted to take some time to update our communities on the first-year implementation of our hybrid academic calendar. As many of you know, the 2023-24 school year was the first year for us to launch the new initiative blending traditional five-day instruction with four-day instructional weeks between September and April.

Let’s begin with some great news from the Human Resources Department. The retention of teachers is at the highest level it’s been in Crosby ISD since the 2020-21 school year. The number of qualified applicants per open position more than doubled for most positions. All academic job openings have been filled with certified teachers. We know without a doubt that veteran teachers in a classroom are the single biggest factor in student success. The hybrid calendar has helped us recruit veteran teachers to Crosby ISD. We began the 23-24 school year with eight first year teachers, down from nearly 40 to start the 22-23 school year. We expect something very similar to begin this upcoming school year. The recruiting and retention numbers exemplify our “why”. We wanted to give our students the most qualified and most experienced educators we could find. We’ve seen 18% fewer teacher resignations at the end of the 23-24 school year as compared to the year prior.

Turning to student achievement. The 2023- 24 school year was a typical year in terms of test scores, with ups and downs. Scores often fluctuate year to year and from grade level to grade level, and especially after two years of implementing the all digital, redesigned STAAR test. This year has been like previous years, where some subject areas experienced an increase in student achievement; other areas remained consistent; and some areas experienced a decline. We are also looking at data in terms of student growth. We are monitoring students as they progress from grade level to grade level. This means Crosby ISD is following third graders who are now fourth graders who then become fifth graders, etc. In most cases, cohorts are experiencing an increase in achievement. Our students are growing academically overall.

We are coming off the heels of a rewarding two-day “administrative academy” for our campus leaders. Our entire Curriculum and Instruction Department embedded with campus teams at district headquarters to pour over data points and brainstorm curriculum adjustments and testing strategies. Campuses will spend the next six weeks finalizing their student-focused, academic blueprint for the new year. When teachers return in August, professional development activities will include launching revised pacing guides and effective teaching approaches to promote further progress among our students.

In conclusion, the 23- 24 school year was our first attempt at a new initiative, and like all new things, it takes time to study, learn, and then improve. I am confident of where we are and where we’re going.

We are Moving Forward! Go Coogs!

Paula Patterson

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