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Florida DOE Releases School Grades, Ormond Schools Show Improvement

The Florida Department of Education released school grades for the 2022-2023 school year on Monday, Dec. 11, and all Ormond Beach area schools either maintained or improved their letter grade.

Four of the local elementary schools — Ormond Beach Elementary, Pine Trail Elementary, Tomoka Elementary and Pathways Elementary — earned an “A” grade. Tomoka and Pathways improved from last year’s “B” grade.

Beachside Elementary improved from a “C” grade to a “B.”

Ormond Beach Middle School and Hinson Middle School both earned a “B.” Hinson improved from a “C” last year.

Seabreeze High School earned a “B,” improving from a “C” last year, and Mainland High School maintained its “C” grade.

The new school grades are a compliment to all the teachers and paraprofessionals who work hard each day, Volusia County School Board member Carl Persis said. They’re also a reflection of the focus on student achievement by VCS Superintendent Carmen Balgobin, he added, even though it put a lot of pressure on the principals, assistant principals and teachers.

“The whole story here is that the Volusia County school district is definitely trending up, and we just have to keep that momentum going,” Persis said.

One of the major improvements that caught his eye was Seabreeze High School’s “B” grade. They missed an “A” grade by two points.

“High schools are the most difficult to earn that ‘A’ because, number one, they are the largest, so it’s much harder to improve the total student achievement of a group of 2,000 or 3,000 students, as it is compared to an elementary school of 300 students,” Persis said.

Persis, who represents District 4, gave kudos to Seabreeze High School Principal Tucker Harris, who has made it his goal to turn it into an “A” school since we came onboard.

Persis was also pleased to see the improvements in all the elementary schools. He can’t remember a time where all of the elementary schools within Ormond Beach’s city limits were all “A” schools. (Beachside Elementary is located in Daytona Beach.)

The Volusia County School district maintained its district grade of “B,” with with 54% of schools earning an “A” or “B,” according to a press release. No schools earned a “D” or an “F” in the district. Two — Taylor Middle-High School and Volusia Online — were given an incomplete grade, which the press release noted means the grade was withheld. A school grade can be withheld if less than 95% of the eligible students participated in testing.

This is the first year that school and district grades were calculated using the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking Progress Monitoring and Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking End-of-Course assessment results.

“These school grades serve as a baseline for districts and provide a starting point for future achievement,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said in a press release. “I look forward to seeing schools rise to the occasion as they continue to provide Florida students a first-rate education.”

According to the Department of Education, the new baseline school grades carry no “negative consequences for schools or districts” and provide the chance for schools to receive the benefits of increased grades by qualifying for school recognition or exiting turnaround status.

Under the previous district grade calculation guidelines, the district stated, VCS would be one percentage point away from earning a district grade of “A.”

“Volusia County Schools has been committed to our students’ academic and personal growth,” Balgobin said in a press release. “The 2022-23 school and district grades are evidence of the hard work students, school-based staff, district-based staff and families have put in to ensure increased success year over year. We are thrilled to see increases in so many areas, including all graded schools achieving an A, B or C.”

Source: Observer Local News