Marion County school district raises state rating from “C” to “B”

Dr. Diane Gullett, the Superintendent of Marion County Public Schools, speaks during the Technical Working Group meeting at Marion Technical Institute on East Fort King Street in Ocala, Fla. on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.

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Posted December 13, 2023 | By Caroline Brauchler

Marion County Public Schools has earned a “B” grade from the Florida Department of Education for the 2022-23 school year after statewide school accountability reports have been released.

The district’s score improved since its “C” grade last year, while the entire state underwent a major change in how schools would be graded by FDOE.

Rather than using the usual system of grading schools and districts based on how students score in high stakes standardized testing, schools will now be graded based on progress monitoring for students through the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST). Florida is the first state in the nation to make this change, according to FDOE.

Unlike end-of-year highstakes testing, FAST is a progress monitoring system that provides teachers, students and parents real-time, immediate and actionable data at the beginning, middle and end of the school year to drive student improvement,” according to FDOE.

This year, Marion County earned 59% in points, an improvement since last year’s 53%.

No schools received failing grades this year, including the McIntosh Area School, whose score improved from a failing grade in 2021-22 to a “C” this year.

The highest-scoring schools in Marion County include Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary, Eighth Street Elementary, Ina A. Colen Academy, Madison Street Academy and Ward-Highland Elementary, all with a score of “A.”

The lowest-scoring schools were Harbour View Elementary, Reddick-Collier Elementary and Wyomina Park Elementary, all with a score of “D.”

Because of the change in the grading system, schools and districts with poor or failing grades will not face any negative consequences for the 2023-24 year.

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