A Believer in Community-Based Accountability

A next-generation of measures and assessments at DeKalb ISD

Dr. John Booth, superintendent of the DeKalb Independent School District (ISD) in rural northeast Texas, believes in developing the whole child. His district is moving away from the rigid accountability standards of the past and looking at each child’s needs. Dr. Booth is not only tailoring learning to the student but incorporating the parents and the community. Local business, industry professionals and future employers are being brought to the process. The community is best served by asking the parents and community, “What do you want? What are your aspirations for the child?”

“We're in a social sector,” Dr. Booth notes. “We're in a relationship sector. It has to be more about relationships. And that's what community-based accountability does. It gets into the relationships between the school and the parent, the school and the child, the school and the community. That's the essence of community-based accountability.”

Dr. Booth and his district are members of TPAC, the Texas Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC). TPAC is a group of 44 Texas school districts working to build on the success of community-based accountability systems already in use in districts across the state by developing next-generation measures and assessments that would enable broader use of such systems. “Once upon a time, the school handed a parent an education plan and said, ‘This is what your child needs,’” said Dr. Booth. “That's no longer the way the world works ─ the whole world, not just education.”

According to Booth, TPAC is on the cutting edge. He says TPAC is the future of school systems. “It is a great start with TPAC. These 44 districts will set a palette, a standard out there and there will be some variations. Ten years from now, it will look completely different. Once people get it and see it ─ and buy into it ─ then we will see them go back to their home districts and say, ‘I want some of that for my child. I want to have that kind of input in my school.’ That's how it's going to grow. It can’t be a mandate. It's not going to be pushed from the top down. It's going to be bottom up.”

Dr. Booth believes in his path and has a great deal of hope for the future. He believes that the blossoming edtech revolution is the gamechanger. “We got away from teaching the individual student because as a society, we couldn't afford to teach each individual child where they were,” he said. “But technology is allowing us to do that now ─ to bring in different pieces, learning styles and methods into classrooms even in the most remote areas.”

About Dr. John Booth

Dr. Booth is currently Superintendent of DeKalb Independent School District (ISD). Before joining DeKalb, Dr. Booth served in many capacities, including superintendent positions at Beckville ISD, Levelland ISD and West Texas.

Dr. Booth has been characterized by his pursuit of exemplary standards in academics, as well as a focus on accountability, access, and opportunity. He is a proven team builder with the ability to forge consensus, especially where challenges are toughest. This is accomplished through a culture of caring. Dr. Booth is known statewide for his expertise in school finance, has published and/or presented numerous articles.

Dr. Booth earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture education from Sam Houston State University, a Masters of Education in vocational education from SHSU, a Masters of Education in educational administration from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Doctorate in the Education Leadership Scholar-Practitioner program from SFASU.

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