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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

It's official: Middleton High leaves state watch-list



TAMPA -- Principal Owen Young got the news first, and blasted it out to his school's many supporters with a "Breaking News" email. After two years of struggling, Middleton High had officially been taken off Florida's list of most troubled schools.

"I received word of our removal from the list this morning around 6:00 a.m. from superintendent of schools, MaryEllen Elia," he wrote on Friday. "As a result of community support, your prayers and the hard working Instructional staff of Middleton High School, the student body and faculty, I can truly say, we are doing it!"

Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters confirmed that Middleton was taken off Florida's "Intervene" list after improving its state grade from D to C and making sufficient improvements among at-risk groups in both reading and math. No other schools have been removed from this year's list since it was issued last summer, she said.

Hillsborough officials have made no secret of their objections to the state's Differentiated Accountability system and the extra state requirements and scrutiny it brings. While that attention has brought needed help and resources to Middleton, they say it's far easier to land on the list than it is to leave. For example, Franklin Middle School has languished on the list despite earning two C grades.

Despite the good feelings, Young said his job of raising Middleton's performance is far from done. But he said the community's support and engagement have made all the difference.

"Thank you," he wrote. "The Middleton High School Family and I are truly appreciative of the commitment and support you have all given to us."

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 2:47pm]


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