HAYS COUNTY — Of all the grades issued by the Texas Education Agency, two districts in Central Texas made whole letter grade improvements from last year: Hays CISD and Bastrop ISD.

Notably, Hays went from a 77 to an 84, while Bastrop ISD went from a 72 to an 80.

‘It’s all about people’ at Hays CISD

Hays CISD Superintendent says part of the credit for the increase is individual attention given to each student.

“We really worked hard on our instruction with our assessment, and then we had professional learning communities at each of our campuses so we can track data for every individual kid. We made sure that every single kid was analyzed according to what their strengths and weakness were and then we made sure that they had interventions and enrichments,” Superintended Eric Wright said.

Additionally, Dr. Wright sees the increase to teacher salaries from the state legislative session as a boon for keeping staff and attracting staff to Hays County.

“That’s critical because in this business, its all about people and if you can compensate them well and if you can attract the best and the brightest, then that’s half the battle,” Dr. Wright added.

The TEA also noted how students at Hays CISD have performed better when taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test. Additionally, the district showed improvement to how minority students and students who are economically disadvantaged were treated and tutored.

Focus on core curriculum at Bastrop ISD

Bastrop ISD said, in part, the reason for their grade improvement was attributed to renewed attention to what the district says is its core curriculum.

“Specifically, we have provided instructional coaches in core content areas for every campus. We have strengthened our curriculum systems, and we have provided opportunities for teacher choice and voice throughout the process, as evidenced by more than 150 teachers coming together this summer for our annual curriculum council,” said Kristi Lee, Ed.D., spokesperson for Bastrop ISD.

Additionally, Bastrop ISD says it will focus on the student experience as well.

“We are proud of the gains we made this year, and yet we believe strongly in continuous improvement. Our efforts will remain centered on providing the best education possible for all students in BISD, and this of course, goes well beyond their performance on a single test. We will also be focusing our attention on postsecondary pathways, social-emotional learning, mental health and well-being, and extracurricular involvement. All of these areas make up the whole child,” Lee says.