The Florida Department of Education released school grades recently, and based on the numbers and marks alone, the 2018-2019 school term proved a mixed bag for Gadsden County’s public schools.
Despite challenges like Hurricane Michael, which disrupted normal school operations for days and led to an influx of students from harder hit districts, as well as an outflux of many Gadsden County students, Gadsden County schools managed to pull off considerable gains in areas like reading. Furthermore, no Gadsden County school garnered the dreaded “F” this year. But overall, the picture – as painted by the state’s current evaluation standards, at least- is more sobering, albeit not altogether disappointing.
Several schools that boasted triumphant gains in the state’s 2017-2018 evaluations slipped back into dangerous territory this past term. Gadsden County High School’s “C” grade in 2017-2018 came with much celebration and fanfare, as it allowed the school to avoid having its day-to-day operations taken over by a private outside consulting firm as part of a “turnaround” initiative mandated by the state in response to sequential “D” marks over several terms. But Gadsden County HIgh is back down to a “D” with the most recent round of state evaluations.
Across the county, West Gadsden Middle School is grappling with its second “D” grade in two years. The dubious distinction means the district will have to consider one of several turnaround options for the school. If the turnaround plan fails, the state may force the district to close the school, convert it to a charter school, allow operations to be taken over by an external operator or some combination of solutions.
Chattahoochee Elementary School, which was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Michael, dropped from a “B” in 2017-18 to a “D” in 2018-19.
But that’s not to say there aren’t bright spots in the district’s 2018-19 report card. Crossroad Academy held on to its impressive “A” mark, as did Gadsden Elementary Magnet School. Havana Magnet School surged from an already admirable “B” in 2017-18 to an “A” in 2018-19, and James A. Shanks Middle went from a “D” to a “C,” saving it from the fate of its West Gadsden counterpart.
Several other schools boast “B” grades, albeit in some cases down from “A’s” in the previous evaluations. A complete listing of Gadsden County’s 2019 school grades is below.
After press time this past week, Gadsden County superintendent of schools Roger Milton issued the following statement regarding this year’s school grades:
“The entire Gadsden County School District worked very hard this past year to ensure that our students received a quality education and that their needs were met in all facets of their lives. Our district encountered adverse events, including weather challenges and personal dilemmas, yet we were determined to keep moving forward. We are extremely proud that there are no schools rated as F. We are even more proud that we were able to see a decrease in the number of students scoring Level 1 on the Florida State Assessment (FSA) English Language Arts (ELA) at grade 3. This means that the District are moving students towards proficiency, and eventually that will positively impact our graduation rate. Our focus remains on building early literacy skills, encouraging attendance and expecting excellence from everyone. We are determined to provide the safest possible environment for our students and staff, as we continue our move ‘from good to great.'”
Gadsden County Public Schools
2019 school grades:
• Gadsden County High School – D
Down from C in 2018
• West Gadsden Middle School – D
Also D in 2018
• Chattahoochee Elementary School – D
Down from B in 2018
• George W. Munroe Elementary School – B
Down from A in 2018
• Havana Magnet School – A
Up from B in 2018
• Gadsden Elementary Magnet School – A
Also A in 2018
• Greensboro Elementary School – B
Down from A in 2018
• Stewart Street Elementary School – B
Also B in 2018
• James A. Shanks Middle School – C
Up from D in 2018
• Crossroad Academy – A
Also A in 2018
• Download complete listing of Florida school grades from 2015 to 2019: School Grades
• Find out how the Department of Education calculates school grades here
• Additional school grades information and data is available here
By Brian Dekle