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Press Release

Friday, July 26, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

2012-13 Preliminary School Grades Support Higher Standards to Prepare Schools for Common Core Transition

~ With the support of teachers, superintendents and civic leaders, Commissioner Bennett continues to prepare for transition to Common Core standards in 2014-15 ~

Tallahassee, Fla., July 26, 2013 - After considering input from education leaders around the state and recommendations from the State Board of Education, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Tony Bennett today announced 2012-13 preliminary school grades for elementary and middle schools.

Earlier this month, the State Board of Education took action to ensure stability and fairness in Florida's school grading system. With this action, Commissioner Bennett and the department can focus on recognizing Florida's highest performing schools and provide assistance to help lower-performing schools as the state prepares for the transition to Common Core State Standards.

"Florida's teachers and educators are the nation's best and they have consistently improved the results of students in preparing them for a brighter future in college and careers," said Governor Rick Scott. "By maintaining stability and high standards as we transition to Common Core State Standards, we are sending a clear signal that Florida's students will be prepared for success in college and careers."

Some changes approved by the State Board of Education in 2012 were applied to this year's calculation of school grades for the first time. (Those changes are detailed in the attached FAQ and available online at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/.)

The result is stability during the transition to Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, maintaining high standards and increasing opportunities for the department to assist schools most in need of assistance.

Based on preliminary grades, statewide, the number of "A" schools dropped from 48 percent to 29 percent while the number of "F" schools increased from 2 percent to 4 percent.

All Schools
(Elementary, Middle, and Elementary/Middle Combination Schools*)
* Also includes high schools that have no graduating classes.
Grade
2012
Number
2012
Percent
2013
Preliminary
Number
2013
Preliminary
Percent
Change
Number
Change
Percentage
Point
A
1,242
48%
760
29%
-482
-19%
B
609
23%
677
26%
68
3%
C
494
19%
721
28%
227
9%
D
212
8%
353
13%
141
5%
F
40
2%
107
4%
67
2%
Total
2,597
2,618
21

Details of the school grades are available online at: http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/.

"These results reflect Florida's commitment to higher standards and the hard work our great educators have put in to become the nation's best," said Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett. "I have no doubt that together we will continue to make our state the best place to learn, to work and to live. We still have a long way to go, but I am confident our schools and districts will rise to the challenge."

"I applaud the commitment of our school and district leaders to the implementation of Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, which will free teachers to prioritize critical thinking and creativity in our students," continued Commissioner Bennett. "This year's grades highlight schools that require our immediate attention and support. The department will focus its attention on the schools most in need of assistance and work with educators to prepare them for the implementation of Common Core State Standards."

"By acknowledging where our challenges are currently, we can best prepare for a successful future," said Board Chairman Gary Chartrand. "Maintaining high and consistent standards between now and 2014-15 will ensure that students and teachers are prepared for the exciting new possibilities of Common Core State Standards."

Business leaders around the state have joined superintendents and educators in supporting the transition plans to Common Core State Standards, which will bring more flexibility in the classroom along with higher standards to help students succeed in college, career and life.

"Florida's school grading system helps the business community support classroom instruction by detailing where schools have improved and where many students still need help," said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "With this valuable information, businesses can step in to support our state's dedicated teachers."

"Governor Scott and Commissioner Bennett have come to the table with an accountable education system that demands higher standards and a network to provide resources to help students meet these high achievement levels," said Dominic M. Calabro, president and chief executive officer of Florida TaxWatch. "This is critically important to ensuring the $20.3 billion Florida taxpayers invest in education is preparing our students for success."

Since 1999, Florida has issued letter grades to more clearly communicate the quality of schools to parents and the public. As performance improved, changes were made to the way grades were calculated to ensure students continued making academic progress.

Changes to how grades are calculated are detailed on an FAQ sheet at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/

The State Board approved those changes in 2012 but scheduled them to be implemented in 2013.

Earlier this month, the Board adopted Commissioner Bennett's recommendation to prevent any individual's school grade from dropping more than one letter grade in one year in order to transition to the more rigorous Common Core State Standards.