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Expect Some School Letter-Grade Drops, Officials Say

Report cards for elementary and middle schools go out today.

Public elementary and middle schools throughout the state will find out today just how good – or bad – of a job they’re doing.

The Florida Department of Education intends to release its letter grades for all schools except high schools sometime today, July 11. These letter grades take into account several factors, including FCAT scores and end-of-year exams.

While many schools throughout the Tampa Bay area boasted A’s and B’s on their report cards last year, state education officials are warning parents to brace for downgrade this year.

“As grades for elementary, middle and many combination schools become available, you may notice that some schools have lower grades than last year,” wrote Gerard Robinson, Florida’s Commissioner of Education in an open letter to parents. (See attached PDF.) “That does not necessarily mean that the schools, teachers or students are not doing as well as they were before. There were a number of changes to the state’s accountability system this year that impacted the results."

Even so, the anticipated drop in grades seems to have some districts worried.

Robinson even agreed to record a telephone message that was sent out to Hillsborough County parents last night, according to a media release from Hillsborough County Public Schools. In his message, Robinson explained the likely drop and the new grading system in advance of today's release of grades.

School grades are also used to calculate funding levels for individual campuses, Robinson wrote in his letter.

“Schools that improve a letter grade or earn an A receive additional state funds – up to $100 per student – in recognition of their academic achievement,” he said. “Struggling schools can get assistance and additional funding – an average of almost $2,000 per student for F schools – to help them improve.”

Stay with Patch for updates about school grades in your area.

What do you think about Florida’s grading system? How do you think schools in your area did? Let us know in the comments section.

Grant Rimbey July 11, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Per 2012 School Accountability Reports - http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/xls/1112/All-districts-11-12.xls Greco Middle School D Lewis Elementary B Riverhills Elementary D Temple Terrace Elementary C Terrace Community Middle School A Woodmont Charter School D
Tom Smith July 11, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Sounds about right. Reward underachieving schools by throwing more money at them. What exactly is the motivation for low achieving schools to perform better if they know they will get more money for poor grades? This is exactly how our government works. Reward those who don't perform and soon you will have a nation of co-dependent slaves who depend on the nanny state for everything.
Jennifer July 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM
The residents of Temple Terrace need to concern themselves with these numbers as much as (or more than) whether condos or apartments go into the Downtown area. If we continue to have poor schools in the area, our property values will do nothing but decline. Who wants to stay in or move into an area where their children will not receive the best quality education? As the parent of a child who would be attending Riverhills a few years from now, I can honestly say I will do whatever it takes to ensure he does not if things stay even remotely the same as they are now.
claudia nesbit July 11, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Tom, you are so right. How are they ever going to raise their grades if they don't have enough tools to do it. Honestly.
A July 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM
As a teacher in a failing school, I can tell you that moment truly does wonders for our children. Most of my students come to school tired, hungry and stressed by environmental factors completely outside their control. We don't WANT the school to fail so that we can get money. We don't want DOE monitoring our every move. Most importantly, we don't want our children to fail. What many don't realize is that a school grade reflects only how a certain group of children did on a nearly obsolete state test. It does not reflect the climate of the school, the kindness of our students, or the quality of the teachers. Just a little food for thought from someone who is there every day.
A July 11, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Money** not moment!
Concerned Resident July 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Both of my kids attended Lewis Elementary, they have the highest parent involvement of all the Temple Terrace Schools, the low graded schools have kids bused in and have among the lowest parent participation, I know a teacher at Riverhills Elementary that said that on Parent teacher nights they have more teachers than parents, some teachers have no parents show up at all, a childs education is a partnership between the student, the teacher and the parent.
Temple Terrace resident July 11, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Temple Terrace needs to decide if we shoudl educate children with the City of Temple Terrace city limits, or any child the school board can cram in a school with capacity. No doubt a D and F rated school hurts property values and limits familes moving in.
Krystal July 12, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I can say from experience, and from looking at the grades of the two high schools I attended, that giving funds to under-achieving schools is effective. I went to a school that has been a consistent "C" school and had an amazing experience, I took a 1.5 year switch to another high school that was perceived as being much worse and the grades reflected that, a "D" average. The "D" school was a much more advanced school, more programs and they attempted to help their students improve, while my "C" school, being on par with expectations and in no real danger at the moment, wasn't provided these programs and additional funds. (The "D" school was in a worse area than the "C" school, not helping the perception of students attending.) Now, my once "C" school is failing, and the once "D" school is an "A" school! I'm absolutely proud of how far along that school has come, but I'm definitely saddened that my once astounding high school has been allowed to suffer.

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