EAST COUNTY — A school district that has weathered its share of legal and budgetary hardships has something about which to boast.
Manatee County improved in preliminary school grades the Florida Department of Education released for elementary and middle schools July 11.
“Our district is on the path to greatness,” Schools Superintendent Rick Mills said. “The release of school grades confirms that statement. I’m very proud of our students, parents, teachers and administrators for all the great work they’ve done over the past year.”
Eighty percent of area schools received a C or better, up from 60% in 2013.
All East County schools received A’s, with the exception of Imagine Charter at Lakewood Ranch, which received a B (compared with a C last year) and Bashaw Elementary, which received a C (same as last year).
Specifically, Tara Elementary School improved from a C in 2013 to an A.
Assessment highlights include:
• 17 schools improved one letter grade;
• seven schools improved two letter grades; and
• 15 schools received A’s.
School Board Chairwoman Julie Aranibar credits the district’s high marks as a result of initiatives Mills has led since he became superintendent more than a year ago, including the creation of data teams. The concept, announced in February, assesses attendance, test scores and other factors to determine area schools’ performance throughout a school year.
The district views the information gathered as a tool to help determine which students need extra help.
Another tool Aranibar believes improved school grades is strategic alignment — regularly reviewing teachers’ and administrators’ resumes to determine if their educational strengths are being fully utilized.
“The idea is to look and say, here are the positions we need, here’s what we’re missing,” Aranibar said. “We’re focusing on what our students need. We have to be able to identify what we need in our schools. I see forward movement.”
Click here to view FCAT results for East County schools from 2013 and 2014.
Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].