Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando schools maintain, improve grades from last year

Superintendent Lori Romano said she was pleased to see how Hernando fared with school grades this year.

Superintendent Lori Romano said she was pleased to see how Hernando fared with school grades this year.

BROOKSVILLE — Nearly every school in Hernando County this year either maintained or improved on its grade, making for slight gains that inched the district closer to an A but kept it steady at a B for the third straight year.

Superintendent Lori Romano said she was pleased to see how the county fared, ranking 37th among Florida's 67 districts and moving from 54 percent to 56 percent of fulfilled points on the state's grading scale. Sixty-two percent secures an A.

"When I came here, we were a C that was almost a D, so this shows that staff has worked hard and our community has united," Romano said after the release of grades last week. She said district leaders got the news during a workshop, giving them the chance to celebrate together.

Linda Peirce, district manager of assessments and accountability, said the district's growth came from small score increases across a number of grades and subjects, including math, science and social studies.

"The growth didn't come from any one category," Peirce said. "It was more like, two points here, one there ... pretty much across the board."

The one school that fell a letter grade, from a B to a C, was J.D. Floyd Elementary. But Peirce said the school's change from a K-8 to an elementary school last year has to be taken into account.

She said she plans to analyze data on the school's third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from before and after the transition in the coming weeks to get a clearer, truer picture of the school's growth.

Both Spring Hill and Chocachatti elementary schools rose from a B to an A, and a handful of schools made gains from C's to B's. Moton Elementary ranked lowest in the district, earning a D for the second year in a row and falling again on the list of the state's lowest-performing schools.

District leaders agreed that Spring Hill's A rating didn't come easily. The Title I school, with a high percentage of children from low-income families, has improved steadily, moving up one letter grade a year since 2014, when it was a D.

This year, it was the only Title I in the district that earned an A, an achievement that principal Michael Maine said he hopes brings pride to the school's community, specifically students' parents and guardians.

"We are up against a high population of students with disabilities, students that don't speak English as their first language and students on free and reduced(-price) lunch," Maine said. "But when you take all of those things and push them aside and believe that all kids can achieve and learn regardless of their background ... you realize none of those things matter."

Maine, who has been in the school's top spot for two years, said he credits the gains to the "team effort" push for teachers and staff to focus on bottom-quartile, or the lowest-performing, students.

Chocachatti principal Lara Silva said teachers at her school were focused on teaching fun and engaging lessons, specifically noting a program called Hands on Science Days, which she credited for the school's jump in science scores. The school's overall score increased by more than 80 points.

Others schools that saw major gains were Brooksville Elementary, Springstead High, Pine Grove Elementary, Nature Coast Technical High and Parrott Middle, another Title I school that earned a B this year, its highest rating since 2011.

Peirce said she credited the growth at some schools to data-driven school leaders who dedicated themselves to crunching numbers to see how instruction could be made better.

Next year, she said, the district plans to have a computer system in place that will allow staffers to do their own calculations to come up with early predictions of school grades. While state numbers will be more exact, she said the district's program should be "pretty close."

Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs.

School2017 grade2016 grade
Elementary schools
J. D. FloydCB
Pine GroveBC
Spring HillAB
K-8 schools
Winding WatersCC
Middle schools
B.E.S.T AcademyCC
Fox ChapelCC
Gulf Coast Academy of Science and TechnologyAA
West HernandoCC
High schools
Nature Coast TechnicalBC
Weeki WacheeCC
Source: Florida Department of Education

Hernando schools maintain, improve grades from last year 07/05/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 7, 2017 10:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.