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Press Release

Thursday, June 18, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Number of Florida Schools Earning ‘A’s Climbs to All Time High
~ Number of ‘F’ schools decrease as more schools earn top grades ~

TALLAHASSEE – Florida schools experienced their most successful year to date according to the 2009 school grades results released today. Driven by a significant increase in the number of “A” grades, more than three quarters of all public schools are considered to be high performing (receiving either an “A” or “B”), the largest number yet since the inception of school grades. The results also indicate that the number of schools earning an “F” decreased to its lowest point in three years.

“These results speak volumes for the hard work taking place in our classrooms and the excellent learning environments being provided by our schools,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “Florida is truly blessed to have such high quality teachers who have made our education system one of the best in the nation.”

Of Florida's 2,954 graded public schools earning "A" through "F" grades this year:

  • 1,822 earned an "A" (62 percent), an increase of 237 schools compared to last year.
  • 495 earned a "B" (17 percent), a decrease of 47 schools compared to last year.
  • 420 earned a "C" (14 percent), a decrease of 145 schools compared to last year.
  • 173 earned a "D" (6 percent), an increase of 18 schools compared to last year.
  • 44 earned an "F" (1 percent), a decrease of 1 school compared to last year.

“These are tremendous results for our schools and every teacher, student, parent and administrator should be proud of the work they have done this year,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “While we do have improvements to make in our high schools, I’m confident that we are making the types of changes that are needed to ensure our children are fully prepared to compete in today’s global economy.”

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

Required as a part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, AYP requirements target the performance and participation of various student subgroups on statewide assessments based on race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, and English proficiency. Despite the fact that these proficiency requirements were raised significantly this year, Florida was able to nearly maintain the percentage of schools (23 percent or 785 schools) making AYP as compared to last year (24 percent or 792 schools).

In 2008, Florida implemented its new school improvement program, Differentiated Accountability, which combines federal and state accountability systems to provide more flexibility for schools in the types of corrective actions they need to implement. Through the program, schools are placed into improvement categories based on their state-assigned letter grade, the percentage of AYP requirements met, and the number of years they have failed to achieve AYP. In its initial implementation, the program included only Title I schools (schools receiving federal funding for low-income students) and schools that received a state grade of “D” or “F.” However, House Bill 991, which was recently signed into law by Governor Crist, expands the program to include all public schools.

School Recognition Program Remains Incentive for Improvement

The Florida School Recognition Program rewards schools that have sustained high student performance or demonstrated substantial improvement in student performance. Schools that receive an “A,” or improve at least one performance grade from the previous year, are eligible to earn an additional $75 per student. The School Recognition Program has had a positive effect on schools maintaining and improving grades. In 2009, 1,366 schools maintained their “A,” 47 newly opened schools earned an “A,” 409 schools improved to an “A” and 221 schools improved to a grade other than an “A.”

To view the 2009 School Grades and AYP fact sheet, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/pdf/0809/SchoolGradesFactSheet.pdf (PDF). For more information about Differentiated Accountability, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/pdf/0809/DifferentiatedAccountabilityFactSheet.pdf (PDF). To view school grades and AYP results, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.