published: Sunday, July 28, 2013
School grades sink
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Preliminary grades for elementary and middle schools are disappointing for 2012-2013, but there is good news. Cracker Trail Elementary School improved from a "C" to an "A," Avon Elementary improved from a "D" to a "C" and Sun 'N Lake Elementary maintained its "B."
The other nine schools, however, all lost a grade level. Memorial Elementary, going from a "D" to an "F," is the first school to fail in Highlands County since grading schools began.
School Superintendent Wally Cox issued a press release Friday morning as the school grades were made public.
"The calculation of school grades has been the subject of intense debate in recent years, but especially this year," the release says. "Several years of changing standards have resulted in volatility in grades. As a result school grades decreased statewide."
The decrease was anticipated because of the state's raised expectations. To soften the transition, the state board of education allowed a corrective adjustment when calculating the grades to prevent any school from dropping more than one grade level. In Highlands County the schools benefiting from the grade drop protection were Lake Country Elementary, Lake Placid Elementary and Woodlawn.
According to the Florida Department of Education, there are 760 "A" elementary and middle schools this year statewide, almost 500 fewer than in 2012. Put another way, "A" schools dropped from 48 percent of all schools to 29 percent in 2013. At the same time, the number of "F" schools increased from 40 to 107. This means "F" schools now comprise 4 percent of all schools, up from 2 percent in 2012.
"This year's grades highlight schools that require our immediate attention and support," said Tony Bennett, Florida commissioner of education.
"By acknowledging where our challenges are currently, we can best prepare for a successful future," Gary Chartrand, chairman of the state school board.
Memorial Elementary is one of those schools facing major challenges. Laura Waldon, former principal of Fred Wild Elementary, has been appointed Memorial's new leader.
"You have to have challenges in order to grow," Waldon said Friday. "We have a positive attitude. We're going to look at our data and work with the district to establish new strategies."
Elementary school scores: Avon, C; Cracker Trail, A; Fred Wild, D; Lake Country, B; Lake Placid, B; Memorial, F; Park, B; Sun 'N Lake, B; and Woodlawn, D.
Middle school scores: Avon Park, D; Hill-Gustat, C; Lake Placid, D; and Sebring, B.
High school grades are not released until the fall.
(by: B Foster - 7/30/2013)
kudos to Cracker Trail, Avon, and Sun n' Lake. If they can do it... the others can too.
(by: Blindman~ - 7/30/2013)
A few schools actually improved. Nonsence, your only making excuses for teachers. And no matter how much money you throw at the problem, it won't go away.
Thanks politics...for killing our education system (by: Nonsense - 7/29/2013)
Florida Dept of Education...knee jerk reactions and can't tow the line for more than one year thanks to politics. What do you expect when you have poor leadership at FDE levels that can't stick with a plan and see it through? The schools just play catch-up every year trying to accommodate the latest ridiculous requirements. For instance, lets all go ape-crazy over the FCAT and then change our minds in a few years because its a piece of junk. Pick a target for crying out loud! My heart goes out to our local school teachers and leaders who actually care about our kids and their education...they fight crazy battles every day in effort to try to educate our kids and these kind of slaps in the face is what they get in return. Governement, why dont you focus on real FUNDING for EDUCATION, and provide some security and SAFETY for our kids and teachers and let them do their jobs! Thank you politics for killing our education system with your bull ----!
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