Thursday, April 26, 2018
Education

Early look at school grades shows up and downs as Florida pivots to a new system

Tampa Bay area schools saw a variety of results in their state grades delivered to districts late Thursday, with many showing improvement and several dropping a level.

The results, which the Tampa Bay Times obtained a day before their public release, show Hillsborough County elementary and middle schools logged in 98 A grades, compared with 61 a year ago. At the same time, the district had seven F-rated schools, up from five.

Hernando County's sole F-graded school from 2013 improved to a C, while its three A-rated schools held firm.

Pasco County saw five schools drop to F grades, from none the previous year. Two schools rose from B to A, but 10 dropped from A to B.

Five Pinellas schools that overhauled their staffs and were targeted for special help got no traction in their first year as "turnaround" schools: Melrose, Fairmount Park and Maximo elementaries kept their F grades, as did Azalea Middle School; Pinellas Park Middle remained a D school.

Some district officials worried that their school grades would not look good because they had begun making the transition from Florida's old academic standards to the new Common Core-based standards this year, while their students were evaluated with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The FCAT measures the standards that are being jettisoned.

The current grading system also is being revised, after facing heavy criticism for being unfair with constantly changing measures.

Some administrators said they expected to see marks that would not reflect the true nature of their students' performance.

Superintendents across Florida have called for a three-year transition period to the new accountability system, with no penalties assessed during that period. The Legislature approved a one-year pause, starting in the fall.

Education commissioner Pam Stewart has said that this year, the schools should have been teaching the old standards on the FCAT, and the grades should reflect that.

District officials will be considering next steps as they assess the grades in the coming days.

Among the more notable results:

• Hernando County's Eastside Elementary, its only F school last year, improved to a C.

• A longtime Pinellas magnet school accustomed to higher grades — John Hopkins Middle — got its first F. And a preK-8 school that is attracting more families, James B. Sanderlin, received its first A.

• Pasco's Lacoochee Elementary, which restaffed its faculty as part of a turnaround effort, raised its grade from D to C. Its other turnaround school, Hudson Elementary, remained at a D. Five schools, including Gulf Highlands, which had improved from an F in 2011, received F grades.

• Four of Hillsborough's five F-rated schools from last year raised their grades, including one — Woodmont Charter — to a C. Four D-rated schools improved to B, and three made A's. But Riverhills Elementary Magnet, created to turn around a persistently struggling school, earned an F despite its efforts.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at [email protected] or (813) 909-4614. Follow @jeffsolochek.

Comments
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student ‘did what he had to do’

At a news conference on Wednesday, Nocco identified the officer as Richard Stackon, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1994. Stackon has spent "several years" as an SRO, Nocco said, and he had nothing in his file "that stands out." Around 1 p.m., Noc...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18

Battle continues over west Pasco school rezoning

Jim Stanley does not give up without a fight.The west Pasco County parent who brought down the school district’s 2017 attendance zone revisions, leading the administration to change its procedures along the way, has filed a new challenge to the syst...
Published: 04/24/18