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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

B grade tops comeback year for John Hopkins Middle

John Hopkins Middle School continued to put the past behind it this week. Its school grade rose from C to B, making it stand out in a year when most Pinellas middle schools held steady and six saw their grades fall.

"I think we have turned a corner," principal Barry Brown told The Gradebook.

Brown said he got the school grade news about 7 or 8 p.m. Wednesday, as he was shopping in Home Depot. "I didn't scream, but I might have said damn. I said wow. I was excited. I started calling and texting my APs," he said. "I was optimistic that our kids had done well, but you don't know until you get the grade."

Back in January, Brown, who Superintendent Julie Janssen appointed last summer, was cautious about declaring that Hopkins was fully back on track, despite declining arrest numbers and upbeat assessments from teachers, parents and students. "I don't want the praise to be premature," he said then.

After the school grades were officially announced Thursday, Brown was careful to say Hopkins still has work to do. But he also said the B was confirmation that the school is moving forward.

"What makes it so unique is that when I talk to instructors and the administrative team, we're still so critical of things we could have done better," Brown said. "It's not the end. But (the grade) accelerates our attitudes about the direction that we're going and that we'll continue to get better."

Brown was also quick to spread the credit: "When the grade improves, it's not any one person that's involved. My administrative team, my support staff, my instructional staff ... it was a collective effort. We're all saying good job to each other because we know it wasn't any one person or one thing that made it happen."

"Now we just need to keep putting in the hard work to maintain or do better."

[Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 1:54pm]


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