Sanibel School earns an ‘A’ grade for 13th straight year
It was announced last week that for the third straight year, the Lee County School District achieved an “A” grade for its districtwide achievement by earning 537 points. An “A” grade is awarded for 525 points.
And for the 13th consecutive year, The Sanibel School earned an “A” grade, garnering 692 points. The kindergarten through eighth grade facility reported 97 percent of its students met the high standard in reading, 95 percent met the high standard for math, 93 percent met the high standard in writing and 86 percent met the high standard in science.
“I was very pleased, as I am every year, to hear the news,” said Barbara Von Harten, principal of The Sanibel School. “I’m extremely proud not only of our teachers and our students, but the parents of our students as well. It takes a total team effort, year after year, to earn that grade.”
According to Von Harten, The Sanibel School also received word that they have been ranked the top K-8 educational facility in the entire state of Florida.
In addition, she noted the school’s achievements in providing assistance to students who are less academically gifted. In the report, 86 percent of the lowest 25 percent of pupils tested made learning gains in reading. Also, 80 percent of the lowest 25 percent of pupils tested made learning gains in math.
“We really do put a lot of effort and thought into helping every child,” said Von Harten. “You have to make an impact on every student in order to be considered a success.”
Pine Island Elementary is the only other school in the district to earn an “A” grade since the school grade reports began in the 1988-89 academic year.
More than 90 percent of schools received an “A” or “B” grade for the 2010-11 school year, which is the first in the district’s history. The district’s score placed it as the 20th highest in the state among 67 districts and second highest out of the nine largest districts in Florida.
“As I prepare to leave the Superintendent’s position, this is the last in a long line of outstanding accomplishments by our students, teachers and schools in the 2010-11 school year,” interim Superintendent Dr. Lawrence Tihen said in a prepared statement. “I feel very confident that our new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph Burke, is inheriting an academically sound district and that he will continue leading it on a path of success.”
In 1999, the Florida Department of Education began issuing school grades by using the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test as its primary instrument.
The first year the grading system was used 34 schools in the district received a “C,” nine received an “A,” eight received a “D,” five received a “B” and one school received an “F.”
Improvements were made to the grading system in 2002, when the Florida Department of Education decided to add student learning gains, along with measuring if improvements were made in specific areas on an annual basis with the lowest performing students.
The “A” and “B” schools began to outnumber the “C” schools in 2002, with 22 schools in the district earning an “A” and 20 earning a “B” grade. Thirteen schools in the district earned a “C” that year.
For elementary and middle schools to be considered an “A” school, they had to earn 525 points or more.
Of Florida’s 2,547 graded elementary, middle and non-high-school combination public schools earning “A” through “F” grades this year:
• 1,481 earned an “A” (58 percent), an increase of 82 schools compared to last year.
• 458 earned a “B” (18 percent), a decrease of 33 schools compared to last year.
• 460 earned a “C” (18 percent), a decrease of 35 schools compared to last year.
• 117 earned a “D” (5 percent), an increase of 16 schools compared to last year.
• 31 earned an “F” (1 percent), a decrease of 13 schools compared to last year.
“Our teachers, principals and school district leaders deserve tremendous credit this year for answering the call of higher standards with resounding success,” said Education Commissioner John L. Winn. “Over the last decade we have continued to raise the achievement bar to ensure our students are learning the skills they need to be successful in today’s economy, and every time that bar has been raised our schools have redoubled their efforts to the direct benefit of children.”
The elementary and middle school points are calculated by the percentage of students who earned a three or higher on their reading, math, writing and science FCAT test. The second portion of the grading system takes the percentage of students who made learning gains in reading and math FCAT scores. The last section grades the progress of the lowest 25 percent of students in reading and math FCAT scores.
“Once again our students, teachers and schools have risen to the occasion,” Chief Academic Officer Dr. Constance Jones said in a prepared statement. “We’ve seen some fluctuation in the grades earned by some schools, so as we have done in years past, we’ll work to determine what we can do to help those schools. We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our principals and teachers — a job well done.”
There were no “D” schools in the district.
The only school in the Lee County School District to receive an “F” grade is Lee Charter Academy for earning below 395 points. Previously, the Fort Myers school had received an “A” grade since the 2007-08 school year.
The high school grades are still pending for the 2010-11 school year.
To see a complete listing of the school grades visit www.leeschools.net.
(Staff writer Megan McCoy contributed to this report.)