A Note on Accelerated Instruction (STAAR Summer School)

Updated June 2018

At the 5th and 8th grade Grade Placement Committees, some schools will take the position that the law prohibits them from promoting your student unless they attend required accelerated instruction (AI). The law could be read that way if your child took and failed the STAAR. For students that did not take the STAAR (even if they were scored a zero based on test refusal) the law could also be read in a way to say AI is not required. If your child has not been tested or refused the test, your position should be that AI is not required because there is no failure to perform satisfactorily because your child was never assessed.

Still, based on TEA pressure, the district will often insist on requiring AI, the following points should be made by you (page citations are to the TEA’s Student Success Initiave Manual downloadable here):

1. The AI program should be based on individual student needs (pp. 5, 13).  Therefore, the GPC needs to identify the specific needs of your student, and design a program specific to those needs. Overlapping instruction that covers other needs is not proper, so placing them in a group environment with students with different needs is not consistent with the manual.  If your child is 504/Special Education, this is a huge issue, particularly if the disability or condition is the likely cause of the performance.  (“Do you plan to teach my child how not to be dyslexic during summer school?”).

2. “Neither the law nor the rules specify the amount of time to be provided for the accelerated instruction.” (p. 32). The GPC has discretion to prescribe any AI program that is appropriate. If the GPC agrees a student is academically ready for promotion, a single 30 minute class can satisfy the statute. As a parent, go into your meeting with a proposal if the school is insisting that AI . (i.e. Since it is apparent my child is academically ready, I will agree to one week of AI).  Remind them, that the SSI Manual encourages the GPC to be flexible with summer Accelerated Instruction. (p. 31)

3. Finally, please remember YOU ARE A PART OF THE GPC. If the committee comes in with a decision already made, you tell them you want a new committee because they made a decision without your input. It is completely improper for that committee to have decided anything before you are there to meet with them!  By meeting without you, the school has failed to follow the law and the decision of the committee is not valid.

To prepare for your GPC meeting, try to get an e-mail or note from the STAAR subject teachers stating your child is academically ready for promotion based on classroom work and their professional assessment during the school year.  Collect any other assessments or diagnostics indicating your child’s performance was grade level appropriate.  If you have time, consider having outside evaluations or diagnostics done.  This will give you an objective view as to whether promotion or retention is in your child’s best interest.

Good luck!. As always, if schools fail to follow the law, please make an Incident Report to us!

Scott Placek
Arnold & Placek, P.C.

15 Comments

  1. Erinn Adamek

    Thank you
    My children’s school
    Principal sent home a letter the Friday before
    STAAR atating that summer school
    Would be mandatory if your child failed. Make your summer plans accordingly.

    1. admin

      For 5th and 8th graders, the principal does not get to make that decision.

      For all other grades, that is not the law. If a school tries to impose that local decision, you may negotiate, opt out of the accelerated instruction, or my favorite “withdraw” from the school for the summer.

      1. ReBecca

        What about 9th grade? I was just informed my son has to take summer school because of failing the English STAAR, and it was only by very few points.

      2. Dana Montalbano

        My child’s principal just left a message saying the same thing. That it was mandatory he be at summer school since he failed 8th grade math starr test.. If the principal doesn’t get to make that decision who does? I do not want him to take the 3rd test. He is A/B honor roll student all year. He has processing disorder then added stress of not passing it. I do not want to punish hI’m by missing band camp to take another test he has never passed. Not sure what to do . It is a charter school that he is in.

  2. Shay

    My friend son is Having a GPC meeting because they sent a summer school letter home without the second test results what should she do because he made good grades and honor roll through the school year what should I tell her she lives in Arlington Tx

  3. Karla

    I just went to my kids school and I told them I wanted to appeal my son retaining because of the star reading test he has good grades his last grades are all passing he is a gt student well I asked to speak to the principal she didn’t wanna talk to me and sent another person that is in charge of 5 th grade promotions and she told me I could appeal a retention if it was because he didn’t pass the star that I could only appeal if it was for bad grades and that if I requested a gpc meeting they will decide if he was ready for promotion if so in his record it will say placed in 6 grade not passed at last she said I needed to sign a refusal star test paper and write a letter stating why I wouldn’t send my kid to summer school in order to request a grade placement committee meeting I told her even if I wanted I could send him to summer school because we were be goin out of state and she said send him for two weeks and send the letter why he won’t complete the whole summer school so that she could show the district why he was promoted if he didn’t complete the whole summer school
    Any advice I feel my son should be promoted with out summer school he worked really hard to get good grades and even went to Saturday tutorials for the starr test
    This is on the Houston district

  4. LMF

    So it also says this from the document you cited to read above (for SPED):
    “If the waiver is granted, the student is automatically retained. However, the GPC is still required to
    determine the appropriate accelerated instruction for the summer, and the student is still required to
    complete this accelerated instruction before he or she can be promoted to the next grade.
    Once the student completes all mandated accelerated instruction, the GPC must reconvene to discuss
    any parental appeal of the automatic retention and to determine the accelerated instruction plan for
    the following school year (whether the student has been retained or promoted).”
    You say that AI is not required but the above says it is. There’s contradiction. Where is it said that AI is not required and you can opt out of that too? Please clarify. Thank you.

    1. admin

      You can always opt out of AI. The school doesn’t own your kids. There is zero contradiction. What the article says is there are two ways to read the statute (hence the essence of not being a contradiction). It then goes on to advise a strategy to forumlate AI properly if the school insists on it.

      All I can tell you is plenty of kids are being promoted without AI, without summer school, and without 3rd administrations. Now does that mean every district will agree? Of course not. This is why we arm parents with the knowledge to fight for an AI plan that makes sense!

  5. LMF

    PS to my comment above. This is in regards to my son who took the STAAR and failed twice and the school is saying he needs to take it the third time and take AI. Also if I waive the third test he is still required to take AI and be automatically retained. But what you say and what Ive heard others say this is not the case. How do I fight this? Thank you.

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