High schools across the state will face tougher standards next year after more than three-quarters of them made one of the state’s top two grades on report cards announced Wednesday.
In all, 78 percent of high school and “combination schools” received an A or a B in the 2012-13 school year, the state Department of Education said. The portion of high schools making the highest mark ticked up by one percentage point over 2011-12, to 48 percent, while 30 percent of schools made a B, slipping from 32 percent a year ago.
In Flagler County, Matanzas High School and Flagler Palm Coast High School both got A ratings. Matanzas maintained its A, making it the third A since the school opened in 2006. FPC improved from a B, earning an A for only the second time in 13 years. It is the second time that both high schools are A rated in the same year (they did so in 2008). The district is rated B, after four successive years as an A-rated district. Most of the district’s remaining schools saw their grades drop as tougher standards have kicked in.
“This is great news for Flagler County Schools entering the Holiday season,” Shawn Schmidli, the district’s assessment and accountability coordinator, said in a statement. “Both grades represent a culmination of all of the hard work that our administrators, teachers, and students have put in over the past year. To have both of our high schools earn an “A” through a rigorous accountability system is a testament to the various exceptional programs that exist at both of our high schools.”
“With more high schools earning A’s, it is clear that our teachers are succeeding in providing Florida students with a quality education,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release announcing the numbers.
But the high grades will also spark tougher standards under a State Board of Education rule, adopted in 2011, that requires the standards to rise if 75 percent of any group of schools makes the two highest marks. State officials said Wednesday this marked the first time the new rule has been used.
For example, high schools will now have to score 70 percent of the points available on the state’s grading system, up from 66 percent, to get an A. The standard will increase from 62 percent to 65 percent for a B, and there will be smaller increases in the scores necessary for C and D grades.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart praised teachers and students for the progress.
“They are doing a good job, and it is really important that we continue to raise the bar as Florida his done, historically, over the years,” she said.
At the same time, the state is continuing a policy aimed at preventing schools’ scores from falling by more than one grade a year while schools phase in new state standards based on the Common Core initiative. Seven high schools were protected by that policy this year, education officials said.
Stewart said that scores could still slip after new tests based on those standards are implemented because Common Core is expected to be more rigorous than the state’s current guidelines.
“I think it’s fair to say that, just as with this move on our high-school grading we are raising the bar, that’s what we’ll be doing in ’14-’15,” she said.
–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida
Flagler County School Grades, 2001-2016
|Bunnell Elementary||C||C||A||A||A||B||B||A||A||B||B||A||B (C)*||A||B||C||C|
|Belle Terre Elementary||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||B||B|
|Old Kings Elementary||B||A||A||B||A||A||A||A||A||B||A||A||B||A||A||C||A|
|Rymfire Elementary||B||A||B||C||A||A||B (c)*||A||B||B||B|
|Indian Trails Middle||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||B||B|
|Buddy Taylor Middle||A||A||A||B||B||A||A||A||A||A||A||B||C||C||B||C||C|
|Flagler-Palm Coast High||C||B||B||D||C||B||C||A||D||B||B||B||A||B||B||C||B|
(*) 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.