No ‘failure factories’ in Palm Beach County schools
Each year, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) releases grades for every traditional public and charter school in Florida. The foundation of these grades is student performance and learning gains on the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) tests given each year, starting with students in the third grade.
We know that grades don’t tell our school district’s whole story, and that they show just a snapshot of what’s happening in our schools every day. However, we still want to celebrate our success.
Palm Beach County is the highest performing large, urban school district in Florida, a notable achievement considering the great work being done by students in public school districts throughout our state.
Here are the highlights from our school district’s report card from the DOE:
- 30 schools operated by the School District improved by at least one letter grade;
- 3 schools increased their grades by two or more letter grades – Washington Elementary had the largest gain - an F to a B;
- 63 schools earned A’s and 35 schools earned B’s, accounting for 61 percent of district-operated schools;
- and no district-operated school in the county received an F this year.
Let me stress that last point: No district-operated school received an F this year. At a time when politicians in Tallahassee are referring to public schools as “failure factories,” not one of our district-operated schools received a failing grade from the state DOE.
Obviously, there is work to be done. District reading scores for our English Language Learners lags behind other urban districts and overall district scores for student reading need to be accelerated.
Improving students’ reading performance is an important priority for me and for the school district. One of the key outcomes of our five-year strategic plan is that 75 percent of third graders are reading on grade level by third grade.
Parents, you can help us achieve this goal by encouraging reading at home – every bit helps. Even those in the community who don’t have children in our schools can serve an important role, through volunteering in our classrooms or contributing to efforts that promote literacy.
On the school district website, www.palmbeachschools.org, you can not only get involved in our schools but find stories that highlight student achievement, innovative programs in our schools, and the excellent work by our teachers and employees.
ROBERT M. AVOSSA, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Robert M. Avossa is superintendent of the Palm Beach County School District.