Residents proud of Charlotte County schools
By BARRY MILLMAN STAFF WRITER, Charlotte Sun-Herald Newspaper. Reprinted with permission.
For the fourth year in a row, the Charlotte County school district has brought home a report card that would make any parent proud.
When the Florida Department of Education announced its annual grades for the state’s 67 county school systems late Tuesday, Charlotte and Sarasota were two of only 15 that received an A, the highest grade possible — and among just 10 that have scored the top grade all four years the state has been grading its districts.
Elsewhere in the region, the DeSoto County school district repeated its C score from last year, while Hardee County dropped from a B to a C.
“Students, teachers and administrators should be proud of the magnificent progress we have made,” Gov. Jeb Bush said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We continue to raise the bar on standards, and our school districts continue to meet the challenge.”
“I am pleased to see 10 school districts have been able to maintain continuously high student achievement,” said DOE Commissioner John Winn. “The dedication and hard work of students, teachers and administrators has kept them at the top, and I congratulate everyone involved for this distinguished accomplishment.”
District leaders were as excited by the news as they were effusive in their praise of school personnel, whom they credited with the district’s success.
“What a great ending to a year that started with Hurricane Charley,” said Charlotte County School Board Chairwoman Barbara Rendell. “But it doesn’t really surprise me, after all the hard work our people have put in. It’s all about people, and our people have taken so much in-service training and so much professional development. Everyone knew exactly what they needed to do. Our teachers have performed spectacularly.”
“In this district, we have had a constant focus on student achievement,” said School Board Member Andrea Messina. “That is our mission, that is our objective and that is our goal. We didn’t have time for any distractions. Everyone from the bus drivers to the cafeteria workers knew what they had to do to help make this happen. It was a total team effort, and we have the best people in the world.”
“The tremendous spirit of this district was just amazing to watch this year,” said Charlotte Superintendent David Gayler. “It’s crystal clear the students, teachers, staff and community here are all topnotch, and this is just another reflection of that.”
However, the number of school districts getting As or Bs from the state has dropped from a year ago.
The figures show 15 districts with As — the same as last year — while 27 earned Bs, compared to 33 a year ago.
In addition to Charlotte and Sarasota, other four-year A districts in Florida are Brevard, Clay, Leon, Martin, Okaloosa, St. Johns, Santa Rosa and Seminole.
Twenty-two earned a C, and three a D. No districts received an F.
The state calculates its district grades utilizing the same three components it uses to grade individual schools: student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, student learning gains and the learning gains of the lowest 25 percent.
Unlike the marks given to individual schools, the grades have no rewards or consequences for the districts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.