Monday, December 29, 2014

Appreciation is due

With the amount of concern about high-stakes/high-frequency testing being expressed by community members at School Board meetings, you might be wondering if our local schools are in trouble. Rest assured: they are not.

Thanks to a December 16 School Board Workshop (agenda and presentation materials here), I have a better understanding of the state-mandated school testing process, and a much better appreciation for how well our schools are doing despite increasingly-burdensome state mandates.

Let’s begin with how well the schools are doing, because I fear we’ve not given those responsible the acknowledgement they deserve.

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) released its annual high school report card, as required by state law (F.S. 1008.22 - Student assessment program for public schools and Rule 6A–1.09981 - Implementation of Florida’s System of School Improvement and Accountability).

The Collier County School District continued to beat state averages in terms of both the percent of A-graded schools (70% vs. 36%) and graduation rate (82.1% vs. 76.1%).


And they did this even as the number of top-rated high schools in Florida declined, at least in part reflecting the fact that the State raised the bar (school-grade scale criteria) in 2014, making it harder to get an “A” this year.

See the District’s December 18th press release for each high school’s grade and graduation rate.

According to the DOE report card, school grades communicate to the public how well a school is:
  1. performing relative to state standards,
  2. encouraging its students to participate and succeed in accelerated course offerings,
  3. graduating its students, and
  4. preparing its students for postsecondary education.
Even as we express our concerns over high-stakes/high-frequency testing, I think it’s important to recognize that many people worked many long hours to achieve these results. Given the recognition-in-passing by the Naples Daily News (see the buried mention in Saturday’s “Kicks&Kudos” editorial column), I would think any teachers or principals you know, as well as Superintendent Patton and School Board members, would appreciate your thanks for a job well-done:
  • Board Chair Kathleen Curatolo - curatoka@collierschools.com
  • Board Vice-Chair Julie Sprague - spraguju@collierschools.com
  • Board Member Erika Donalds - donale@collierschools.com
  • Board Member Kelly Lichter - lichteke@collierschools.com
  • Board Member Roy Terry - terryro@collierschools.com
  • Superintendent Kamela Patton - Patton@collierschools.com

In my next post, I’ll share what I learned about the state-mandated testing process.

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