Education

School grades: Santa Rosa up, Escambia stays the same

Emily Ellis, VPK teacher at Lincoln Park Primary School, leads her pre-K class in a discussion of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.”

The Florida Department of Education released the grades for more than 3,200 schools across the state.

The good news is that eight school districts, including Santa Rosa County, improved their overall district grade from a B in 2015-16 to an A in 2016-17. Escambia County retained its C grade from the previous year.

Grades statewide showed marked improvement in 2016-17, according to results issued by the education department.

The grades now are based on the results of the Florida Standards Assessment, the state standardized test that replaced the FCAT.

In addition to school grades, the department also calculates district grades annually based on the same criteria.

The percentage of schools that earned an A or B increased to 57 percent, up from 46 percent last year.

Elementary schools saw the largest percentage point increase in A schools, with 30 percent of elementary schools earning an A this year, up from 21 percent in 2015-16.

The number of F schools statewide decreased by more than half, dropping from 111 schools in 2015-16 to 43 schools in 2016-17.

In Escambia County, 78 percent of schools score either an A, B or C, which is up from 72.5 percent the previous year. The number of schools assigned an F dropped from five to two.

Oakcrest Elementary School showed marked improvement, rising from an F to C. Lincoln Park Elementary made significant gains, climbing from an F to a B. Lincoln Park has exceptional status because it is only tested third-grade students.

In Santa Rosa County, only three schools received a C grade, while all the others scored an A or B. Six schools in the county improved a letter grade and only one schools, S.S. Dixon Immediate, fell a letter grade to a B.

A total of 1,589 schools maintained an A grade or increased their grade in 2016-17.

All was not good news in Escambia County.

Eleven elementary schools in Escambia County are on the state’s “Lowest 300” list, down from 13 in 2015-16. The list is the lowest scoring elementary schools in the state. All the schools serve low-income, high-poverty students.

The education department calculates school grades annually based on up to 11 components, including student achievement and learning gains on statewide, standardized assessments and high school graduation rate. School grades provide parents and the general public an easily understandable way to measure the performance of a school and understand how well each school is serving its students.

Based on the total points received, Escambia County ranked 50th out of the state’s 67 counties, while Santa Rosa ranked eighth.

Visit the state website to see individual school and district results.