All A's, all the time
When school grades came out last week, the attention went to the failures. Maybe that makes sense. The numbers receiving D's and F's did double, after all. But let us now give some deserved credit to 34 schools that slipped under the radar.
These are the schools that have earned an A every year since school grading began in 1999. Whatever the change in standards or grading scale, whatever the new demand, these schools have risen to the challenge. "It is hard to keep it up, especially when you already have higher scores," says Kathy Wickett, new principal of nine-time A McMullen-Booth Elementary in northern Pinellas.
Most have advantages - low poverty, strong parent involvement, low teacher turnover and the like. They also have an unwillingness to sit back on their laurels. "We continue to stretch ourselves," says Ellyn Smith, principal of nine-A Alafia Elementary in eastern Hillsborough. "We try very hard not to be OK with being OK."
Here's the complete list of the schools, starting with the local ones: Alafia Elementary and Claywell Elementary in Hillsborough, Lake Myrtle Elementary in Pasco and Garrison-Jones Elementary, Highland Lakes Elementary and McMullen-Booth Elementary in Pinellas. The others are William S. Talbot Elementary (Alachua); Challenger 7 Elementary and Audubon Elementary (Brevard); Tequesta Trace Middle (Broward); Fleming Island Elementary (Clay); Pinecrest Elementary (Miami-Dade); Beachland Elementary (Indian River); Pine Island Elementary and the Sanibel School (Lee); and Desoto Trail Elementary, Buck Lake Elementary, Hawks Rise Elementary and Swift Creek Middle (Leon).
Also, Palm City Elementary and Hidden Oaks Middle (Martin); Palm Lake Elementary, Bay Meadows Elementary and Shenandoah Elementary (Orange); Waters Edge Elementary, Addison Mizner Elementary and Del Prado Elementary (Palm Beach); International Baccalaureate and Valleyview Elementary (Polk); Cunningham Creek Elementary (St. Johns); Gulf Breeze Middle (Santa Rosa); Pine View School (Sarasota); and Rainbow Elementary and Rock Lake Middle (Seminole).