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Review: 5 Pinellas schools progress

Upon further review, five Pinellas elementary schools are doing just fine, education officials said Thursday.

Anona, Orange Grove, Plumb, Southern Oak and Lake St. George elementaries received A grades from the state of Florida last year but were labeled by the federal government as not having made "adequate yearly progress" under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

A review of the testing data, however, found that those schools actually had made adequate yearly progress. The Pinellas schools were among 117 statewide that improved their grades in a final government tally released Thursday.

The implications are greatest for Southern Oak and Orange Grove elementaries, which receive federal Title I money. Under the law, Title I schools face stiff penalties if they fail to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years.

Even if they were to fall beneath the federal standards this year, those schools are safe from those penalties for at least another year.

Seven schools in Hillsborough County and one in Citrus County also received an improved grade.

The change should come as a relief to the schools, said Jan Rouse, the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Pinellas County.

The government's review process is "a good safeguard," she said.

"We make a lot of assumptions about what these numbers mean, and we would like it to be as accurate as possible," she said.