Bad Apple Justin Henry’s Worst School

Worst School
H.S. Thompson STEAM Academy | Image by Dallas ISD

The Dallas Express dug into the numbers behind one of the worst-performing schools in the troubled Dallas Independent School District (DISD) under the leadership of this quarter’s Bad Apple, school board member Justin Henry.

H.S. Thompson STEAM Academy, formerly known as the H.S. Thompson Learning Center, is an elementary school located on Bexar Street, just south of U.S. Highway 175 and west of Rhoads Terrace Park.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Henry was named Bad Apple of the Quarter because of the extremely high number of students he abandoned while a trustee last school year, condemning roughly 10,000 to attend drastically-underperforming neighborhood schools.

Out of the 17 poorly performing campuses in Henry’s education district, H.S. Thompson has the worst student achievement outcomes, according to an accountability report from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the 2021-2022 school year.

While student achievement scores for high schools have additional metrics — like graduation rates — that can be used to measure the quality of education being provided, elementary and middle school student achievement scores are based entirely on the STAAR test.

By that standard, Bad Apple Henry’s H.S. Thompson was given a 47 out of 100 by the TEA for its student achievement score last year, a consequence of only 14% of the school’s students scoring at grade level on last year’s STAAR exams.

Despite the tireless efforts of the campus’ hardworking educators, just 20% of students scored at grade level on the reading exam, 7% scored at grade level in math, and 13% scored at grade level in science, according to the report.

The school’s TEA profile notes there were 500 students enrolled at H.S. Thompson last school year. That is 500 students abandoned by Trustee Henry, the overwhelming majority of which were logged as economically disadvantaged (95.8%) and either black or Hispanic (97%).

Additional information on the profile also indicates that 7.4% of students that year were students with special needs and 42.2% were emergent bilingual or English language learners.

The Dallas Express reached out to Trustee Henry about why H.S. Thompson performed so poorly last school year, but no response was received by press time.

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