At Hillsborough's Middleton High, a sigh of relief
TAMPA -- The cheers reverberated through Middleton High this morning after principal Owen Young announced the good news. The long fight had finally produced a tangible result.
"Everyone is just elated," Young said. "You could just hear the energy. Some people who have been here for eight years were crying."
After spending six years with a D grade, and the past two on the state's Intervene list of troubled schools, Middleton had earned a C.
Today's release of high school grades included much to celebrate in Hillsborough County, with three schools -- King, Blake and East Bay -- jumping from D to A. Sixteen of the district's 27 traditional high schools improved at least one letter grade under the new formula, which for the first time includes graduation rates and participation in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. Eight schools earned an A, up from two last year, while 13 earned a B. Brooks Debartolo Collegiate High, a charter that had been threatened with closure for low academic performance, also vaulted from a D to an A.
But nowhere was the pressure to improve greater than at Middleton. While state officials had repeatedly said the district was on the right track with its turnaround plan, the school slipped last year among some of its subgroups on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Officials said they needed a C to leave the state watch list, and now they have it.
"We still understand we have a ways to go," Young said. But for students who have wondered whether their school can improve, today's grade provided a clear answer.
"This serves as a note to them that it can be accomplished if they commit and put their mind to success," he added. "They understand they can achieve, and we can begin to wipe away those feelings of hopelessness. Our kids can begin to believe in themselves."
High school grades in Hillsborough
Tampa Bay Tech
Note: Two schools were new last year and did not receive a school grade in 2009.
(Source: Hillsborough County school district)