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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Imagine's 3rd-grade FCAT scores scrape the bottom

Fifty-four percent of third-graders at Imagine Charter School in St. Petersburg scored a Level 1 in reading, the lowest possible score, on the FCAT reading test this year. Seventy-two percent scored Level 1 in math.

That means the D-school had a greater portion of its students in that bottom tier than any other school in Pinellas except the already doomed Life Force Academy, which is slated to close at the end of this school year.

Life Force had 57 percent in Level 1 in reading and 79 percent in Level 1 in math.

Pinellas County school board members on Tuesday voted  5-1 to keep Imagine open one more year despite ongoing academic issues and financial turmoil. The only dissenting board member, chairperson Robin Wikle, expressed dismay on Thursday after the release of the scores and said she'd be asking administrators whether the news would impact their recommendation as to the future of the school.

Superintendent John Stewart's recommendation to continue Imagine's charter came with a caveat that continued academic problems could result in its closure.

It is worth noting that the percentage of Imagine third-graders considered proficient in math and reading this year also slipped, even after the state Department of Education accounted for tougher standards on the most recent FCAT. The percentage of students at Level 3 or above dropped from 30 to 23 in reading and from 9 to 5 in math, according to the state's formula.

In this charter school report created by the Pinellas district's Research & Accountability department last fall, Imagine was found to have only met six of 23 goals for improvement over the course of the 2010-11 school year.

[Last modified: Monday, May 28, 2012 4:30pm]


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