The Hearne school district was listed as "Not Accredited-Revoked" in the latest accreditation status report from the Texas Education Association, but the designation could change following a review.

Hearne Superintendent Adrain Johnson said he feels confident the state will change the district's accreditation status back to last year's rating of "Accredited-Probation" because of its two-year, in-district charter partnership -- or turnaround plan -- under SB 1882.

The partnership began in August when the Hearne Education Foundation, which was established in the summer, took over the operations of the district's elementary and middle schools. The two campuses are still part of the school district, but the nonprofit governs them for the length of the partnership.

One aspect of the partnership is a freeze on adverse affects of improvement required ratings for two years, giving the district a reprieve from the threat of state sanctions, such as the appointment of a board of managers or the closure of the district.

A school district's accreditation status is determined based on the district's academic and financial accountability ratings, the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) assessment.

The reason listed for both last year and this year's accreditation status is the multi-year improvement required accountability scores. After three "improvement required" ratings in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the district received the letter-grade equivalent this year of an F rating, making it four straight years.

If the accreditation status is upheld as "Revoked," Hearne would no longer be recognized as a Texas public school and could potentially be required to merge with a nearby district.

When a district has to merge with another, that change typically occurs in the summer and does not affect the students' credits, a TEA spokesperson said.

Johnson plans to submit the review request next week but did not know how long it would take the state to complete the process.

The state is aware of the programs and partnerships the district has entered into to address the low performances, including a $2 million two-year School Transformation Fund eGrant, Johnson said, and expects the current status to be abated -- or changed -- back to last year's "Accreditation-Probation" status.

In a press release, Johnson stated, Hearne Junior High School received a met standard designation in 2018 after getting improvement required ratings since 2014, and the elementary school has shown progress also. Though not part of the in-district charter partnership, the high school received its second consecutive improvement required rating in 2018, but was "just shy" of the met standard rating.

"Our district is getting better. We have some of the best educational partners in the state working with us to improve," he said. "Our teachers have increased their expertise. Our students are more confident, and their outcomes are improving. We are determined to meet state standards.

The following districts remained accredited in the latest release:

• Bryan, which received a C accountability rating and an A-Superior FIRST rating, remained accredited.

• College Station, which received a B accountability rating and an A-Superior FIRST rating this year, remained accredited.

• Calvert received a status of "Accredited-Warned" reflecting improvement required accountability ratings in 2017 and 2018. The district received a C or "meets standard" on the FIRST rating.

• Navasota, which received a D accountability rating and an A-Superior FIRST rating, remained accredited.

• Somerville, which received a D accountability rating and a B-Above Standard FIRST rating, remained accredited.

To look up other school districts' accreditation statuses, visit http://bit.ly/accreditationstatus.

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