Kirby Middle School on the fringe of being shut down

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Kirby Middle School has six weeks to get out of IR status or they could be shut down. Everything relies on the scores of STAAR tests that students will take in May.

Superintendent Dr. Donny Lee talked about the progress that has been made thus far and what still needs to be done with little time left.

“Engage2Learn has been here,” Dr. Lee said. “We have had Region 9 Educational Service Center, their team here. Our teachers are working very hard. The only thing we don’t have enough of and never have enough of is time.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The future of Kirby Middle School

An all-hands-on deck team effort. That is what Lee said has been going on and will need to continue to happen if Kirby Middle School looks to get out of IR status.

“We are very proud of the work they have done, proud of their effort,” Dr. Lee said. “We are proud of our students that are trying extremely hard. Engage2learn has been phenomenal providing coaching to our teachers because that is what our teachers need. They need assistance, guidance, support and they want the coaching.”

“We know at Engage2Learn that the campus culture is so important to the overall learning experience for students,” Kammi Green, Chief of Partner Success at Engage2Learn said. “We have been able to see through that coaching support for principles how they are working toward that evidence of creating more collaboration on the campus.”

Engage2Learn was brought to Kirby in January to help progress the teachers’ ability to educate their students to make the grades they need to get out of IR status, but the biggest challenge has been time.

“The overall challenge they face right now is time because we are working on a condensed timeline, but even with working on that condensed timeline, they are still able to meet the goal of the partnership, which is to see growth of the educators,” Green said.

Both Engage2Learn and WFISD officials said they have seen growth in the classroom, and it showed following the results of interim STAAR tests.

“The interim assessment showed growth in 6th, 7th and 8th grade, so we know that growth is happening,” Dr. Lee said. “What we can’t tell from the test is how much growth has taken place and if it is enough to get us out of IR status.”

Scores will need to improve on the STAAR tests in May. If not, the TEA will step in and could shut down Kirby Middle School, but Dr. Lee said this is where the TEA currently stands on their decision.

“The updated decision I got from the commissioner last time I talked with him, which was about a month ago, is he is leaning toward replacing our board of trustees with a board of managers and keeping Kirby open,” Dr. Lee said.

While STAAR tests are in May, the district won’t actually receive those results until late August or early September.