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Lee District reports bump in school grades

By Staff | Jul 11, 2019

The School District of Lee County had 18 schools increase their school grades, including Trafalgar Elementary School which jumped by two.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeff Spiro said he wants to congratulate the district, school leaders, teachers and students for their hard work. The District spent time calling the principals Thursday morning to share the school grades and celebrate all of their hard work with them.

“It’s been a great morning to be able to be part of that with them,” Spiro said.

The great school grades were accomplished through a really clear road map, instructional guides and a tiered support system of what they want students to know and be able to do, he said. In other words, there are a variety of different systems provided to meet the needs of the whole child.

The results stated that 60 percent of traditional Lee County public schools, which did not include charter schools, earned an “A” or “B,” which was an increase of 8 percent from the previous year.

In addition, the district maintained a “B” grade for the sixth year in a row, which moved them 3 percentage points of an “A” grade.

A total of 55 district schools maintained their letter grades, while seven schools dropped, a decrease of 50 percent from the previous year. Eighteen schools increased their letter grade.

“I’m so excited for the big picture,” Spiro said.

The School District of Lee County is the only district of the top 10 largest in Florida that did not have any “D” or “F” schools.

“When you look at the work that has been done over the last four to six years . . . that to me is remarkable,” Spiro said.

He said he wanted to give a special kudos to East Lee County High School which earned a “C” grade, an increase from a “D.” Spiro said the staff, administration and students have worked very hard in increasing student achievement by focusing on quality instruction.

“I want to recognize them for what they have accomplished,” he said.

The increase in the letter grade took East Lee County High School out of Differentiated Accountability (DA) status at the state level.

The school district has gone from 12 DA schools to none since Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins became the superintendent.

All but three elementary schools in the West Zone went up in a grade, according to Executive Director of School Development Shanna Flecha.

“We are very pleased with the work that our west zone elementary schools did,” she said. “They had some huge accomplishments.”

Of those schools, Trafalgar Elementary School was the only school in the district that went from a “C” to an “A.”

“The only one that got that two letter grade jump,” Spiro said.

Other elementary schools that improved included Patriot Elementary, which went from a “C” to a “B” and Diplomat Elementary School went from a “B” to an “A.”

The middle schools in the West Zone also did well. Trafalgar Middle, Challenger Middle, Gulf Middle and Diplomat Middle remained “A” schools. Mariner Middle and North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts remained a “B” school and Caloosa Middle School scored a “C.”

The West Zone High Schools pretty much remained the same.

Spiro said North Fort Myers High School remained an “A” school, Cape Coral High School and Ida S. Baker High School remained a “B” and Mariner High School dropped from a “B” to a “C.” He said they will look into the data to dive into where the deficiencies are, so they can make some improvements.

“Out of all the West Zone middle and high schools, (all but one) remained the same. Mariner dropped one letter grade,” Spiro said.

He said for the schools maintaining an “A” or “B” grade is a remarkable task.

“It is significant,” Flecha said of maintaining, or increasing a letter grade. “It takes quite a few points within the school grading accountability system to improve the letter grade (percentage points). For example, elementary has 700 total points calculated into percentage points. The actual points are significant.”

Spiro said the expectations remain high and continue to be very strategic of how to meet the needs of the students. He said the student population constantly changes as the new school year begins.

“It’s very strategic in how to provide intervention, support and enrichment for our students, so they can maintain those high expectations,” Spiro said.