School district receives ‘C’ grade but sees improvement

File photo: School district meeting on April 26, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted July 20, 2022 | By Caroline Brauchler

After receiving a C grade for the district’s schools, the Marion County School Board believes that with some reevaluation, that grade can be brought up to a B.

The grades are provided by the Florida Department of Education and evaluate each school individually, as well as averaging the grades overall to score the district as a whole. The district maintained its C grade from the past year, but saw a 19-point improvement and scored only 1 point shy of a B.

That single-point discrepancy could, however, make all the difference. Out of the 49 schools in Marion County that received a grade, Forest High School received an ‘incomplete’ rating because it did not reach the 95% of students tested as required by state standards.

“The district has 30 days to appeal this result and will immediately review and analyze student data for any discrepancies. If necessary, the district will provide any additional information representing the academic progress of the school,” according to MCPS.

Once the appeals process is complete and if the Commissioner of Education determines that Forest High School’s academic progress is satisfactory and receives an appropriate grade, the district’s overall grade could possibly be raised to a B.

“If the Commissioner of Education determines, based on analyses, the performance data for the school is representative of the school’s progress, the Commissioner will release the school grade at the end of the appeals period,” according to MCPS.

Marion County schools improved in 7 out of the 11 categories in this year’s grading evaluation, which contributed to the points scored as per the grading system.

“In 2021-22, a school’s grade may include up to eleven components. There are four achievement components, four learning gains components, a middle school acceleration component, as well as components for graduation rate and college and career acceleration,” according to FLDOE.

The achievement components brought into consideration for each school’s grade are English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The learning gains components gauge how well students perform in the areas listed above in statewide standardized assessments.

Eighth Street Elementary, Madison Street Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, and Dr. N. H. Jones Elementary School received an A grade. Ten schools received a B grade, and 32 schools received a C grade. East Marion Elementary School and Lake Weir Middle School both received a D grade, while McIntosh Area School received a failing grade.

Twelve of these schools improved by at least one letter grade compared to the past year.