Students aren’t the only ones who receive report cards.
Volusia County Schools have garnered a solid B average in the latest school grades released by the State Department of Education.
“We are pleased to announce that Volusia County School District is a B for the fourth consecutive year,” said Nancy Wait, director of community information services for Volusia County Schools. “This is the result of the hard work of our students, teachers and leaders throughout our district.”
For Volusia County high schools, the top grade went to Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, the only high school in the district to achieve an A with nearly 600 points awarded. University High School in Orange City, Deltona High School in Deltona, Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach and Atlantic High School in Port Orange all received a grade of B, the district average.
The remaining district high schools, Deland, Mainland and Pine Ridge received C grades, with New Smyrna Beach High School receiving an I or Incomplete grade.
“(The reason for the I grade for) NSB was because less than 95 percent (of students) tested,” Ms. Wait said. “We will appeal to have the grade released.”
Similarly for district middle schools, Creekside and Silver Sands, both in Port Orange, capture the district’s only A grades for middle schools, while DeLand, Ormond Beach and Deltona received B grades. The remaining district middle schools, Galaxy, Dewitt Taylor Middle-High, Southwestern, New Smyrna Beach and Campbell, received a C grade.
While the majority of the district’s elementary schools performed at the district average of a B, or slightly below with a C, Tomoka, Pine Trail, Ormond Beach, Coronado Beach and Sweetwater received top marks with A grades.
On the other end of the spectrum, Edith Starke, Turie T. Small, Pierson, Westside, Palm Terrace, Blue Lake and Louise McInnis were among the 300 lowest performing elementary schools in the state. However, this is an average of three consecutive years and is in comparison to percentages and scores of all elementaries state-wide.
Of these schools, Louise McInnis maintained a B grade for the past three years; Pierson and Edith Starke maintained a C grade for the past three years; and Blue Lake Elementary raised a two-year D grade to a C grade.
Turie T. Small slipped from a two-year C average to a D, and Palm Terrace Elementary School did not slip, but has maintained a D grade for three consecutive years.
“Heritage and River Springs were flagged due to a higher than expected number of students changing their answers on the 7th grade Civics exam (it will not affect individual student scores),” Ms. Wait said. “In most cases the students changed them from right to wrong. The test is computer-based so it captures data as students are marking an answer (the state calls them ‘erasers’).
“The state is requiring an investigation by the district to determine if all testing protocols were followed,” she said. “Upon completion of the investigation, the findings will be reported to the state and the ‘I’ grade will be appealed for the release of the school grades.”
The evaluations and grades will assist district staff in identifying needed changes as well as building upon successful instructional methods to continually increase the quality of education in the county.
“The district and schools will complete a comprehensive review and analysis of the data to determine successful instructional practices,” Ms. Wait said. “Focus areas will be developed and will become part of the school improvement planning process for 2018-19.”
In an emailed statement, Superintendent Tom Russell said he is proud of the schools’ grades, and hopes to see even higher marks in the coming years.
“We are very pleased the district maintained its B grade for the third consecutive year, but the goal remains earning an A. Almost 70 percent of our schools maintained or increased a letter grade,” he said. “However, we recognize there is still work to be done and will conduct a thorough review of the data, determine successful instructional practices and replicate what’s been done right in our schools.”
For a complete list of the school grades, visit fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/.