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July 17, 2014

Lafayette Elementary improves to B grade-Preliminary district grade is B

Mayo — The 2013-14 preliminary school grades and cumulative district grades for elementary schools were released by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) on Friday, July 11, and Lafayette County scored high.

Lafayette Elementary School (LES) came in with 496 points and scored a B grade, up from last year’s C grade. In the 11 years prior, LES consistently scored A and B school grades.

“Lafayette Elementary School improved its score and earned a B,” said Superintendent of Schools Robby Edwards. “I would like to say thank you to all of our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other supporting staff. This truly is a group effort.”

Edwards said, looking at numbers across the state this year, Lafayette County is one of only 16 counties who increased their elementary school letter grade.  

“Increasing this score in any given year is quite an accomplishment,” he said. “Increasing this score during a year when we saw numerous changes in administrative staff, curriculum, testing and the school grading system is a tremendous accomplishment. Our teachers and staff have worked very hard to adapt to and overcome whatever challenges they were given this year. Dealing with change is very stressful while we are living through it, and in this case, is also very rewarding in the end.”

The upcoming school year, Edwards said, will bring changes of its own.

“As of February 2014, the state standards we teach have been changed again,” said Edwards. “We are currently in training over the summer so we will be ready to implement these changes when students return. The test we all know as FCAT 2.0 will also be replaced by a new assessment which is still under development. This new assessment will be administered in the Spring of 2015. I am confident we will also meet this challenge and continue to be successful.”

Preliminary district grades were also released and, not counting the high school grade that will be released toward the end of this year, Lafayette County is sitting at a B grade for the district. Last year they got a C grade and and the three prior years they received a B grade.

In contrast, Suwannee County’s preliminary district grade is a C and Hamilton County is an F grade.

According to the FDOE website, elementary, middle and combination schools serving elementary and middle school grade levels are assigned a school grade based primarily upon student achievement data from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 (FCAT 2.0), Florida End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments and the Florida Alternate Assessment (FAA), which is administered to cognitively disabled students for whom the FCAT 2.0 is not an appropriate assessment.

FDOE says that school grades communicate to the public how well a school is performing relative to state standards. The assessment-based components of all school grades are calculated based on student achievement in reading, math, writing and science, annual learning gains for each student, as well as the progress of the lowest quartile of students. Schools are awarded points for students who score satisfactory or higher and/or make annual learning gains.

The Florida Legislature recently amended the statutes for the upcoming 2014-15 school year to streamline the school grading process to enhance transparency, and refocus on student success measures. The new amendment will also accommodate the adoption of new assessments and achievement-level standards prior to the calculation of the preliminary 2014-15 school grades, which will be used for baseline informational purposes.

Since 1999, when Florida implemented the A-F school grading system, accountability standards have steadily been raised and expanded, and more changes are coming for the 2014-15 school year. For more information on school grades, you can go to http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.

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