+ East County high schools receive ‘A’ grades
Both of East County’s high schools earned “A” grades from the state in the 2013 High School Accountability Grades the Florida Department of Education released Dec. 18.
Braden River and Lakewood Ranch high schools both received an “A” for the second year in a row.
Overall, four of the seven Manatee County School District high schools earned “A” grades, and, for the first time, all of the high schools earned either an A or B.
“Hats off to our students, teachers and principals who contributed to this fantastic showing among our high schools,” said Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services Diana Greene. “This is evidence of the tremendous dedication and commitment being devoted to the success of our students.”
Florida’s High School Accountability System grades schools based on student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), graduation rates, student participation and performance in advanced coursework and college and career preparation.
Under the requirements, 50% of a high school’s grade is based on FCAT performance, and the remaining 50% is based on factors that include the following:
• The school’s graduation rate;
• The performance and participation of students in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Dual Enrollment, Advanced International Certificate of Education and industry certification;
• The postsecondary readiness of students, as measured by the SAT, ACT or College Placement Test;
• The high school graduation rate of at-risk students;
• Growth or decline in these data components from year to year.
The state released data from middle schools and elementary schools this summer.
+ School district fails to win money for STEM grant
For the second year in a row, the Manatee County School District fell just short of winning federal funding for a grant to implement science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) labs in elementary schools.
The district placed No. 7 in the Race to the Top competition, a national grant competition that gives money to school districts with innovative learning ideas.
“I am proud of all those who contributed time and expertise to this worthy effort,” Superintendent Rick Mills said. “We have come extremely close each of the last two years, and we will continue to work hard to pursue these kinds of grants because it expands opportunities for our students.”
The district’s $28.7 million proposal was written based on a grant application that fell short last December. Last year, the district’s “Manatee County is F.I.R.S.T (Fully Integrated Reading Science Technology) in the Race to Student Success” grant finished 22nd, short of the top 16 finalists that earned funding.
This year, five school districts of more than 400 applicants were awarded funds. Manatee County was the only finalist from Florida.
The winners of Race to the Top are: Clarendon County School District Two, South Carolina; Clarksdale Municipal School District, Mississippi; Houston Independent School District, Texas; Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative; and the Springdale School District, Arkansas.