SEBRING — Memorial Elementary School made a remarkable turnaround, going from an “F” to a “B” grade, according to the preliminary elementary and middle school grades released Friday by the Florida Department of Education.
The FDOE noted that the number of preliminary “A” and “F” grades increased statewide, but Highlands County had no “A” or “F” schools nor any schools in the listing of the bottom 300 elementary schools, based on reading achievement and learning gains.
Two Highlands County elementary schools improved from “D” to “C” grades — Avon and Woodlawn elementary schools.
But three saw a grade drop — Lake Country and Lake Placid elementary schools from “B” to “C” and Cracker Trail Elementary from “A” to “B.”
Sun ‘N Lake Elementary maintained a “B,” Park Elementary maintained a “C” and Fred Wild Elementary maintained a “D.”
Two middle schools improved a grade — Hill-Gustat Middle from “C” to “B” and Avon Park Middle from “D” to “C.”
Sebring Middle School maintained a “B” and Lake Placid Middle maintained a “D.”
School Board of Highlands County Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Brenda Longshore said they are “thrilled” with the grades, which show significant progress across the district.
“The teachers and administrators at our schools, along with the students and the parents and the community, have worked so very, very hard this year,” she said.
Five of the district’s schools had a grade increase, Longshore noted. “We had a few that had a little bit of a drop, but for the most part we had some very, very nice increases.”
The FDOE noted that the number of elementary and middle schools earning a preliminary “A” grade increased by 195 (7 percentage points) over last year in the final year of the current grading system, according to preliminary data. Overall, 962 elementary and middle schools statewide earned the top grade.
The number of schools earning a preliminary “F” grade this year also increased. The FDOE stated it is focused on ensuring all low performing schools are provided the necessary assistance and support they need to help their students achieve.
“The increase in the number of schools earning an ‘A’ this year is great news for students and teachers who have worked hard for this success,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.
This is the final year school grades will be calculated using the current formula. The new grading system next year will support the more rigorous Florida Standards and the Florida Standards Assessment, which will replace the FCAT. The new school grading formula will be more simple and transparent, according to the FDOE.
The high school grades, which include the graduation rate and advanced placement performance, will be released later in the year.