Pinellas County school district to appeal incomplete grades
Some schools didn’t know how to react Friday when the state debuted official school grades for 2015, mostly because they received an “Incomplete” grade.
According to the Florida Department of Education, a school can receive an incomplete grade for two reasons: the percentage of eligible students tested fell below the required 95 percent benchmark, or, at some point during the administration of the tests, the validity or integrity of the tests was compromised, triggering the state’s investigation of the school.
The following schools in Pinellas County received an “Incomplete” grade: Clearwater, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Lakewood, Largo, Seminole and St. Petersburg high schools and John Hopkins Middle School.
Two charter schools, Plato Academy Charter School at Tarpon Springs (a Kindergarten through eighth grade school with 362 students) and University Preparatory Academy in St. Petersburg (a Kindergarten through eighth grade school with 445 students).
These schools join 118 schools, or 3.5 percent, across the state that received an “I” grade.
The state did not elaborate as to why these schools received an “I” grade, but Pinellas district spokeswoman Lisa Wolf said the district believes these schools did not reach the 95 percent participation benchmark, a standard that previously required 90 percent of participation. The state has not yet given the district the schools' full data set, which would show individual participation rates for each school.
Wolf said the district plans to appeal the incomplete grades of all the schools it operates (which excludes charter schools) because the district feels that the schools’ simulated grades, released earlier this year, are “representative of the students’ performance.”
These were their simulated grades: Clearwater High ("C"), Dixie Hollins High ("C"), Gibbs High ("C"), Lakewood High ("B"), Largo High ("B"), Seminole High ("B"), St. Petersburg High ("A"), John Hopkins Middle ("C").
Plato Academy Charter School at Tarpon Springs will appeal their incomplete grade, said principal Danielle Turro. She said a batch of science tests was submitted after the deadline, which caused the school to fall below the participation deadline. The school's simulated grade was an A.
Darius Adamson, principal of University Preparatory Academy, said the school received noticed Wednesday that their participation was also under the 95 percent threshold. He said students who were not on the school's current roster were credited to the school as non-test takers. The school's simulated grade was an F.
Adamson said he was waiting to hear from the state, which has not yet released information on the new appeal process.