Nearly 400 schools in North Texas that generally do well academically have been identified as “red flag” campuses because their performance plummeted during the pandemic, according to a statewide analysis.

Children at Risk, a Houston-based, research and advocacy-focused nonprofit, released its annual school ranking on Tuesday which ranks schools based on academic performance and now, due to COVID-19, resilience.

Nearly 2,000 schools in North Texas have been assessed by the group, including 388 identified as red flags while 105 were listed as pandemic resilient.

Forney, Keller, Mansfield, Dallas, Grand Prairie and Lewisville all had schools on the red flag list.

Campuses marked as such had already received A or B grades from Children at Risk in 2018 and 2019, but experienced one of the biggest drops in academic performance since the start of the pandemic, according to the organization.

Rhea Intermediate of Forney ISD took first place on the statewide red flag list for elementary schools, alongside UME Preparatory School and Irvin Elementary School of Midlothian ISD .

Forney ISD has five campuses topping the list of elementary schools in North Texas, which also included the Mansfield and Aledo campuses. Forney did not return messages seeking comment.

While many schools have the red flag indicator, that doesn’t necessarily mean those campuses are doing a bad job, said Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk. All schools have been affected by pandemic disruptions that have impacted student learning.

“These are schools that historically have performed very well, but that we should all be a little worried about,” he said. He later added, “We’re going to need the support of the whole community to get to where we need to go. “

UME Preparatory Academy’s junior high school topped the college red flag rankings for North Texas, followed by Keller ISD’s Vista Ridge.

Billions of federal aid has been given to schools across the country to deal with learning losses caused by the pandemic, and districts have added additional resources to help students.

At Vista Ridge, for example, students are using educational resources for additional remediation and practice, district officials noted in a statement. The school also offers before and after school tutoring available throughout the campus, with signs of high attendance.

Additionally, clubs have been created for family events on campus to promote engagement as teachers dig into data to monitor student performance and growth, officials said.

Meanwhile, among high schools, New Tech High School Dallas at BF Darrell is on the red flag list for North Texas, alongside Gordon High School and UME Preparatory Academy.

Before the pandemic, Texas had seen 10 years of improvement in reading and math. At an event last month, state education commissioner Mike Morath said that in some key parameters the state has lost “at least a decade of progress.”

See the association’s full ranking here.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation on pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network , Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.


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