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PRESS RELEASE

June 22, 2006

Russell Schweiss
(850) 488-5394
Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush and Commissioner Winn Announce 2006 School District Grades
More than one third of Florida school districts earn an "A"

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the 2006 grades for Florida's 67 school districts. More than one third, or 36 percent, of districts earned a grade of "A" this past school year. Overall, 24 districts earned an "A" up from 15 last year, 29 a "B" up from 27 last year, and 14 a "C" down from 22 last year. No districts earned a "D" or an "F." Additionally, 23 districts improved one letter grade or more.

"Accountability and high standards continue to yield rising student achievement and impressive gains for schools and school districts in our state," said Governor Bush. "I thank Florida's dedicated superintendents, administrators, teachers for their commitment to important improving student performance through important education reform."

Districts earning an "A" for the 2005-06 school year include Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Gilchrist, Hillsborough, Leon, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, St. Johns, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, Wakulla and Walton Counties.

The top 10 highest-performing school districts:

  • Gilchrist with 452 points
  • Okaloosa with 445 points
  • Brevard with 442 points
  • St. Johns with 442 points
  • Seminole with 440 points
  • Santa Rosa with 438 points
  • Martin with 436 points
  • Sarasota with 434 points
  • Charlotte with 431 points
  • Clay with 430 points

"This year's school and district grades clearly reflect the efforts of all those who are a part of Florida's education system and I am especially pleased that three of our most struggling districts have finally seen the fruits of their labors embodied in a letter grade improvement," said Commissioner Winn. "Increasing student achievement yearly is quite an accomplishment and something our administrators, teachers, students and parents can be proud of. I applaud each and every one of them for their outstanding work."

Districts improving one or more letters over their 2004-05 district grade include: Alachua, Bay, Broward, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Gadsden, Hardee, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Polk, St. Lucie, Sumter, Wakulla and Walton Counties.

Additionally, Gadsden, Jefferson and Madison Counties — districts that have historically earned low marks — each raised their district grade to a "C" this year for the first time ever.

The top 10 districts earning the most points compared to last year:

  • Jefferson with a 46 point increase
  • Hendry with a 35 point increase
  • Marion with a 35 point increase
  • Dixie with a 33 point increase
  • Gilchrist with a 27 point increase
  • Walton with a 27 point increase
  • Lafayette with a 25 point increase
  • Broward with a 24 point increase

District grades are calculated using the same components as school grades — student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), student learning gains and the learning gains of the lowest 25 percent. Since the implementation of the A+ Plan for Education in 1999, Florida has continued to raise its standards for achievement to ensure students are better prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce. In 2007, the bar will be raised again when scores from the Science Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), students in the lowest 25 percent on the Mathematics FCAT and Grade 11 and 12 FCAT retakes will be included in the school and district grade calculations.

Governor Bush and Commissioner Winn recently announced that a record number of Florida schools earned "A" and "B" grades in 2006. Since 1999, the number of schools earning an "A" or "B" jumped from 515 to 2,074 schools in 2006 — four times the number of high-performing schools seven years ago and 231 more than last year (up from 1,843). Three of every four Florida schools were considered high performing in 2006. Additionally, the number of failing schools is on the decline, down to a fourth of the number of failing schools in 1999.

Providing a quality education for each and every student in Florida is Governor Bush's priority and the state's most important mission. Florida continues to raise its standards for achievement to ensure students are prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education and the workforce. The A+ Plan for Education established the school grading system in 1999. Since then, standards have been raised three times and students continue to show improvement. Today, more of Florida's students than ever are reading on their own, taking college entrance exams, graduating from high school and earning college degrees.

To view a complete list of school district grades, please visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/.