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Mission CISD falls in accountability ratings

The Texas Education Agency audited Mission CISD’s industry-based certifications and found that about 352 student certifications lacked verification. Because of their findings, TEA dropped the district’s rating from 89 to 87. However, the agency weighs both scores as a “B.” 

For TEA to consider certifications as verified, students need to complete three steps — testing, certifying and applying for credentials. In their audit, TEA found that Mission CISD tested and certified students but did not have them complete the final step of applying for their respective credentials. The agency reported that Mission CISD’s career and technical education department could not account for some Educational Aide Level I and Security Level II certifications. 

Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Sharon Roberts said the issue occurred because the CTE department coded the paperwork as if they had submitted all documentation. 

“We were not going the extra step that TEA was mandating for us,” CTE Director Sergio Peña said. “We were testing kids, [and] as they were passing, basically we were reporting them as being CCMR complete. We now are finding out that basically the third step, which is actually applying…is required so that students can be classified as ‘earned’ and not just ‘passing.’” 

Additionally, Mission CISD did not use the TEA-approved vendor for their emergency responder certification program. The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch is the only vendor TEA approves, and MCISD used the National Emergency Communications Certification. MCISD used NECC because teachers reported that NECC was the only vendor attending their professional development training. 

Mission CISD’s rating or audit findings do not affect students and their certifications, only the district accountability rating. 

Before this audit, Mission CISD passed every single audit with 100% for the last five years. Superintendent Dr. Carol Perez expressed her disappointment at the April 19 board of trustees meeting where the curriculum department presented the audit findings. 

“TEA is not giving us credit now, and they took away two points from our accountability system — from an 89 to an 87,” she said. “We were almost at an ‘A.’ That hurts.” 

Several trustees also expressed their disappointment during the presentation. 

“This is an accountability issue from the very beginning, from whoever,” trustee Petra Ramirez said. “And it’s not the whole department because, if everybody’s doing their job, it’s the last one that needed to hold everybody else accountable that didn’t do [it.] Maybe it was an oversight, I’m not gonna say whatever it is because we all make mistakes. But this really hurt the district.”  

The CTE department already has a corrective action plan — double-checking each step and following up with students who graduated. Their goal is to ensure all IBC exams are on the approved TEA list, and they plan to keep a record of all attained IBC exams in a shared spreadsheet. 

Roberts also suggested auditing the departments herself, and Perez and Ramirez encouraged “micromanaging” staff, if necessary, regarding state accountability. 

TEA selected Mission CISD for an audit because their percentage of graduates earning industry-based certifications is almost four times higher than the average for similar-sized local education agencies. Specifically for college, career and military readiness, MCISD reported 68.7% of graduates earning an IBC in 2020-2021, while the average is 19.1%. Additionally, the 68.7% was 27.2% higher than the district reported the previous year.

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