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PRESS RELEASE

February 18, 2003

Contact: Pam Bryant
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

State Board of Education approves monitoring plan for third grade promotion

JACKSONVILLE — The State Board of Education approved today a plan to monitor compliance with state laws for third grade promotion that focus on student reading proficiency. The plan, developed by the Florida Department of Education, uses a tiered monitoring system of district, school and student-level data to determine promotion.

"The plan shows promise that student progression will be properly assessed and reported and that districts and schools will get personalized assistance to support student achievement," said Board Chairman Phil Handy. "This is a detailed work plan for success."

Under the first phase of the plan that ends in August, all school districts will be required to complete a Web-based self-assessment report to identify specific actions taken to comply with the third grade promotion requirements. The Department will provide targeted technical assistance based on the districts' self-assessments.

Florida law requires schools to not promote third grade students who have not demonstrated the basic reading skills they will need to succeed in school. These students are retained in order to get the assistance needed to master the critical learning skill of reading.

The second phase ensures that school districts report to the State Board of Education by Sept. 1 information on their compliance with the student progression law. The Department of Education will again initiate technical assistance based on this data that may include on-site visits, interviews with district and school staff and review of student records.

"The third grade reading/promotion plan involves district representatives, principals, teachers and parents," said Education Commissioner Jim Horne. "The Department will work diligently with this group of stakeholders to help all students gain this important skill."

The State Board will next meet on March 18 in Tallahassee.