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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

In Hillsborough, superintendent stresses improved grades



Responding to the release of school grades, Hillsborough County, Superintendent MaryEllen Elia on Friday congratulated those schools that showed progress in a year of controversy and changing standards.

About half of Hillsborough County’s middle schools showed improvement, the district said, including its two new single-gender schools. Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy improved from a C grade to an A grade, while Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy improved from a D grade to a B grade.

Forty elementary schools also improved their scores, including Graham Elementary School, which went from a D to a B. Only two percent received an F grade, including charters, while the average across the state was four percent.

“This is a year of transition and that has contributed to some misunderstandings and confusion for educators, parents, and the public,’’ said Elia, who was at the forefront of a movement by superintendents to make the process more stable. “The big story is that at a time when it is more difficult to raise your school grade, due to hard work and intense focus many of our schools raised their grade.”

Elia said schools that improved were not helped in any way by the state’s decision to provide a safety net that prevented schools from dropping more than one letter grade. “Give credit where credit is due,” she said. “The schools that saw increases should be proud. Their progress is due to what happened in their classrooms and not due to any decisions made in Tallahassee.”

That said, the grades will be cause for disappointment at some schools -- including Potter Elementary, which is undergoing a state-supervised improvement plan after three consecutive D's. While Potter had hoped to improve to a C, it got an F.

Sligh, the only F school last year not including charters, and also undergoing a turnaround process, improved to a D.

There were three new F's in addition to Potter at the non-charter schools: Sheehy Elementary, B.T. Washington Elementary and Jennings Middle.

Ten elementary schools got D's, but would have had F's without the cushion advocated by Elia and other principal: Just, Broward, Clair-Mel, James, Cypress Creek, Dover, Ippolito, Mango, McDonald and Oak Park. West Tampa, Shaw and Twin Lakes Elementary, similarly, got C's but would have had F's without the cushion.

"A" grades went to these elementary schools: FishHawk Creek, MacFarlane Park, Collins, Turner, Doby, Alexander, Stowers, Deer Park, Hammond, Anderson, USF/Patel Partnership, Apollo Beach, Ballast Point, Bevis, Bryant,  Cahoon, Carrollwood, Chiles, Cimino, Clark, Gorrie, Grady, Knights, Lake Magdalene, Limona, Lithia Springs, Lowry, Lutz, Mabry, Maniscalco, Mitchell, Northwest, Pride, Roosevelt, Schwarzkopf, Sessums, Tampa Palms, Tinker, Westchase and Wimauma; these middle schools: Barrington, Benito, Burns, Coleman, Farnell, Liberty, Martinez, Ferrell, Mulrennan, Orange Grove, Randall, Walker, Williams and Wilson; and to Rampello K-8 School.

[Last modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 3:37pm]


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