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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Few Tampa area schools contest their state grades



Despite all the hoopla over whether Florida school grades are fair and accurate, few elementary and middle schools in the Tampa Bay area plan to appeal their ratings.

Hillsborough County, the area's largest district with 266 schools (including charters), submitted three grade appeals to the Florida Department of Education by Thursday's deadline. They were Roland Park K-8, which received a B, Stewart Middle Magnet (B), and Literacy/Leadership/Technology Academy charter school (B). District spokesman Steve Hegarty said each appeal was based on end-of-course exam results not included in the grade calculation.

The Pinellas school district appealed testing participation data for Lakewood and Dixie Hollins high schools. The state has not yet issued high school grades, but districts had to challenge any available FCAT and end-of-course results along with the elementary and middle school grades.

Hernando and Pasco counties did not file any appeals.

"We did have a couple that were on our radar," Pasco accountability director Peggy Jones told the Gradebook. "But we did not appeal anybody."

Many observers have dismissed the value of this year's school grades, suggesting that questions over the formula and a late decision to provide a "safety net" have rendered them meaningless. State leaders said at this week's summit in Clearwater that the model needs changes, and Gov. Rick Scott has said their comments could guide his future policy proposals. Stay tuned.

*This post has been updated to include information from Pinellas County.

[Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 11:05am]


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