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.