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Flagler School District Scores a B For 7th Year In a Row, Ranks 32nd Out of 67

| June 27, 2018

A math classroom at Indian Trails Middle School, the only school in the district to score an A other than iFlagler, the virtual school. (© FlaglerLive)

A math classroom at Indian Trails Middle School, the only school in the district to earn an A other than iFlagler, the virtual school. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County school district scored a B for the seventh year in a row according to grades released today by the Florida Department of Education. The district ranked 32nd out of 67 counties, essentially placing it at the midpoint of achievement relative to other districts.

Twenty districts scored an A. Flagler was one of 33 districts scoring a B. Thirteen scored a C. None scored lower than a C, though Franklin County did not get a score.

“I know we’ve made gains from last year but at the same time not enough to propel us forward, which is good and bad,” Trevor Tucker, chairman of the Flagler school board, said.

St. Johns County was the top-rated district, with 758 total points earned from the 111 categories of scores the state tabulates into the final grade. Those include not just the net scores for traditional courses like English Language Arts, Math and Science, but a separate category for each that measures learning gains. Flagler combined for 648 points. The lowest-scoring A district, Calhoun, combined for 678 points.

Only one school in Flagler scored an A: Indian Trails Middle, maintaining its A for the second year in a row. Indian Trails has had an A every year of its 13-year existence except for one, in 2016, when it had a B. One other school scored an A: iFlagler, the virtual school, improving from a B.

None of Flagler’s brick-and-mortar schools improved, and two, Rymfire Elementary and Old Kings Elementary, dropped a grade: Rymfire to a C, Old Kings to a B. All others maintained last year’s grades. The two high schools kept their B, as did Belle Terre Elementary and Imagine School at Town Center, the district’s last surviving charter school–and the only charter school in the district that’s ever consistently performed adequately. Palm Harbor Academy, long troubled, announced it would be closing its doors come fall. It did not rate a school grade in the state’s report.

Three schools maintained their C’s: Bunnell Elementary, Wadsworth Elementary and Buddy Taylor Middle School. The school-by-school results are not as poor as two years ago, when no school scored an A and four had C’s.

Flagler Superintendent Jim Tager, who will mark his first-year anniversary on the job next week, said he’s not satisfied with the district’s position as long as it’s not an A. “No, I’m not happy with where we’re ranked there, I want to get in that A category,” he said.

“I’ve always believed the kids are tested too much in our system but the way we’re measured does matter,” Tager said, “and for economic development it’s good were a B district but that’s not where we want to be, where we want to be is an A.”

He said key scores that aren’t tabulated until later this summer or as late as December will show notable improvements that should help push the district to an A next year. Those numbers include the district’s graduation rate, which stands at a middling 81 percent now, one point below the state average, but that Tager expects to see rise by at least five points when that number is produced in a few weeks.

The better numbers also include “acceleration” grades–that is, grades tabulated from such course work as Advanced Placement and the International Baccalaureate in high school and industry certification in middle school. IB and AP grades are not all tabulated until December, so the scoresheet released today actually reflects AP and IB scores from last year, not from 2018.

A third area of improvement key to pushing Flagler’s grade to an A is in the performance of the so-called “lowest quartile,” or those students in the lowest 25 percent of achievement. Some schools are showing marked improvement in that category, others will be urged to refocus on that quartile.

Tager said the aim school by school is to “work with everybody to try to increase by a grade level and try to give them things to do realistically to get there.”

He pointed to bright spots at each school this year–significant improvements in math at Old Kings and Wadsworth, in science at Rymfire, improvements in math and in lower-quartile performance at Buddy Taylor Middle, big improvements in algebra, geometry and industry certification at Indian Trails, improvement in math learning gains at Flagler Palm Coast High School, improvements in English at Matanzas, and so on. “But we have to do better with our lowest quartile as a district to get to that A,” Tager said.

You can access spreadsheets of the school-by-school breakdowns, with all scores, here, of the district by district grades here, and the state’s explanation of the scoring system here.

Flagler County School Grades, 2005-2019

School2005 2006 2007 2008 20092010 201120122013201420152016201720182019
Bunnell ElementaryABBAABBAB (C)*ABCCCC
Belle Terre ElementaryAAAAAAAAAABBBA
Rymfire ElementaryBABCAAB (c)*ABBBCB
Wadsworth ElementaryAABABBAAAAABCCB
Indian Trails MiddleAAAAAAAAAABAAA
Flagler-Palm Coast HighCBCADBBBABBCBBB
Grades are based on standardized tests and other factors, including student improvement, end-of-year exams, AP and IB, dual enrollment, and graduation rates.
(*) In 2013, the state Board of Education agreed to pad grades in such a way as to prevent them from falling by more than one letter grade. More than 20 percent of schools benefited from the padding, including Rymfire and Bunnell elementaries in Flagler, whose grades would have been a C if the actual standards were applied.
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10 Responses for “Flagler School District Scores a B For 7th Year In a Row, Ranks 32nd Out of 67”

  1. Trudyluvspups says:

    We should be doing better than this. We will have a tough time attracting companies to Palm Coast if we cannot get these scores up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We should be in the top 5 in the state or our educators aren’t doing something right! Too many administrators around this county….let the focus be education!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tie the school administrators and teachers pay directly to their school’s rating and these scores would change. You know, An “A” rating will get the school teacher or administrator 100 % of their base pay a “B” rating would get school teacher or administrator 80 % pay and so on down the line. This payment schedule would include school board members as well. Just think, we could save enough on salaries, {until the ratings came up}, to afford to buy all those school buses we need. The school buses could then be used to transport Flagler County students to surrounding counties to get a decent education.

  4. Michael Cocchiola says:

    Yeaa…we’re average! We need Carl Jones on the school board to breathe some new life into our school system.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Given all the numbers in the report … sounds to me the grade was very close to that C. Shameful …….I believe we are a little top heavy ……. and the report of only 81 % of the senior class graduates is tragic. I wonder how many drop out before the 12 th grade ? All of the top brains of the district better start employing people with the vision of moving our school district in a forward and upward motion. The school board is responsible for this mess…. they have been here long enough …… where else in the world do we continue to have poor reports and still maintain your jobs . It’s not like you do this for the good of the students ….. you get paid !

  6. Monica Campana says:

    Compare free lunch statistics to county scores. Income is quite an accurate predictor of performance. Not surprising St. John’s performs well as does Naples area. Flagler free lunch stats indicate we should be a C district. Congrats to all who worked so hard to attain the B. You perform miracles every day amid increasing negativity and decreasing funding. Many of us congratulate and appreciate you.

  7. Born and Raised Here says:

    For a small county with no major labor force, industry, or population we should be in the top 5 in the State. Obviously our administrators are using the wrong models and guidelines for setting up our school district. What is so complicated for a small school district like Flagler to not get straight A’s. I could see this average grade if we were a large Metro area. I would like to see a thorough audit done of our school district Something is holding us back from maintaining a good solid school system. Very strange for a small school district to be so mediocre.

  8. gmath55 says:

    Back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s when I was in school I don’t recall AP and IB grades/scores and the rest of the BS. As a child you had to want an education and if not it was the parents responsibility that you went to school and got that education. If you had problems the parent would go see the teacher(s) and see what could be done to help. Back then there were PTA’s (Parent Teacher Association). Do they even do that now a days?

  9. Charlie says:

    You mean we have DUMB children in this county ? Imagine that !

  10. Anonymous says:

    The real tragedy here is that only this bad test report only warranted 9 comments . No wonder the test scores are so poor . When parents of 3000 students think these scores are excepted as good enough for their children……..

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