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Florida Makes Monumental Improvement in School Grades

Over 2,000 schools earn “A” and “B” grades

Re-posted from a Florida Department of Education News Release

Tallahassee, Fla., July 11, 2019 – Today, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) issued 2018-19 school and district grades, marking the 20th anniversary of school grades. Statewide leaders congratulated students and thanked educators for their role in increasing the percentage of schools earning an “A” or “B” grade to 63 percent and decreasing the number of “F” schools to just 15.

Key highlights include:

  • The number of “A” schools in Florida continues to rise with 1,172 schools earning an “A” in 2018-19 compared to 1,043 in 2017-18. The percentage of schools earning an “A” increased to 36 percent, up from 31 percent in 2017-18.
  • Over half (51 percent) of Florida’s charter schools earned an “A” in 2018-19, compared to 32 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Seventy-four percent of charter schools earned an “A” or “B” this year, compared to 61 percent of traditional public schools.

Governor Ron DeSantis said, “It is a great day for education in Florida and today’s announcement shows we are on a successful trajectory. We are resolute in our continued efforts to ensure that Florida students have the chance to receive a world-class education regardless of their circumstance. The ultimate gift we can give future generations is the ability to achieve their life’s ambitions. I appreciate our state’s hard-working educators who made it possible and applaud our students on a job well done.”   

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “Education is the means by which we free children from the shackles of ignorance. A community has a right to have key insights into its schools and school grades. Meeting that goal is essential for any community to truly provide future generations the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. We are pleased to share this spectacular news and to reiterate our commitment to ensuring Florida has the #1 education system in the nation.”

The Florida Department of Education calculates school grades annually based on up to 11 components, including student achievement and learning gains on statewide, standardized assessments and high school graduation rate. School grades provide parents and the general public an easily understandable way to measure the performance of a school and understand how well each school is serving its students.

School grades are a vital component of Florida’s accountability system. They not only enable parents to make informed decisions, they provide the State Board of Education with data that drives reforms at perpetually low-performing schools. Florida statute prescribes the steps districts must take when one or more schools earn a “D” or “F.” These policies focus on research-validated improvement and have gotten increasingly stringent in recent years. Commissioner Corcoran and the State Board of Education members take seriously their responsibility to Florida’s students and have demanded swift, positive action in failing schools on behalf of the students whose futures depend on it.

Low-Performing Schools

Thanks in large part to FDOE’s rigorous monitoring of low-performing schools and the State Board of Education’s commitment to holding school boards and school districts accountable, there has been a substantial improvement in the performance of schools that have been under state-mandated monitoring.

  • Eighty-one percent of schools graded “F” in 2017-18 improved their grade in 2018-19 by one or more letter grade (21 of 26 schools).
  • Seventy-seven percent of schools that earned a “D” or “F” grade in 2017-18 improved by at least one letter grade in 2018-19 (165 schools).
  • Sixty-three percent of schools in the second or third year of implementing their turnaround plan improved their letter grade (22 schools).
  • The number of “D” or “F” schools has declined 70 percent since 2015, and the number of “F” schools has declined 93 percent since 2015.

In addition to school grades, the department also calculates district grades annually based on the same criteria.

  • Twenty-four districts are now graded “A” in Florida, and for the second year in a row, there are no districts graded “D” or “F.”
  • Fifty-four of Florida’s 67 school districts are graded “A” or “B.”
  • Five districts improved their district grade from a “B” in 2017-18 to an “A” in 2018-19.
  • Three districts improved their district grade from a “C” in 2017-18 to a “B” in 2018-19.

State leaders applauded the improvement in school grades:

State Board of Education Chair Marva Johnson said, “For one student to spend even a single day in a failing school is unacceptable. That is why, as a Board, we rely on the concrete evidence that our accountability system provides to make student-centered policy decisions. I express my sincere appreciation for the teachers and parents whose unconditional support enables our students to thrive.”

Committee on Education Chair Sen. Manny Diaz said, “School grades are an important measure of quality, and today’s announcement demonstrates for the public that education in Florida is on a positive trajectory. Florida’s accountability system is the most transparent in the nation, and I am tremendously proud of the improvements that have been made as a result of it. I am honored to celebrate our state’s hard-working teachers and students for these outcomes.”

Education Committee Chair Rep. Jennifer Sullivan said, “This is wonderful news for our public schools and shows that high expectations combined with quality instruction pays off. With these results, Florida parents can have confidence that their children are receiving the world-class education they deserve. To our students, congratulations on a job well done, and thank you for representing us so well.”

For more information about school grades, visit School GradesThe department continues to accept feedback on Florida’s education reports portal, EduData (http://edudata.fldoe.org), where these data will be featured in August.

 

Commissioner Corcoran Commends Students and Teachers for Outstanding Performance

Shorter, later assessment window changes allow for more student learning time

Re-posted from a Florida Department of Education News Release

Tallahassee, Fla., June 28, 2019 – Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced improved state assessment results and highlighted the later, shorter spring testing window that enabled students to spend more time in the classroom learning and teachers more time teaching.

For the first time this spring, the administration of statewide assessments followed the requirements outlined in House Bill 7069 from the 2017 legislative session, which called for testing later in the school year over fewer days to maximize student learning. Specifically, compared to the school year prior to the passage of the law (2016-17):

  • The spring testing window opened 32 calendar days later, with the writing portion of the Florida Standards Assessment English language arts (FSA ELA) assessment moving from February 27 in 2017 to April 1 this year.
  • Additionally, the spring testing window for the remainder of the FSA ELA and mathematics, the statewide science assessment, and the statewide end-of-course (EOC) assessments shifted back three weeks, beginning May 1 in 2019, compared to April 10 in 2017.
  • Overall the amount of time during the assessment window dramatically decreased by four weeks this spring compared to 2017, with an additional 20 school days devoted to instruction rather than testing.
  • Adjusting the assessment window resulted in students dedicating significantly more time to the part of education that matters most, invaluable classroom instruction. 
  • Testing is now closely aligned to the end of the school year, maximizing the amount of instructional days before the start of assessments and minimizing time after. 

Commissioner Corcoran said, “High-quality education is a basic right for all students that has an undeniable connection to freedom. Developing lifelong learners helps ensure students have the confidence to pursue their career and life aspirations, knowing they are well equipped to overcome any of life’s challenges. Accountability is key because it provides a routine, uniform measurement that drives change where inequity is identified. As leaders, we must balance the benefits of this information with the need to protect our core function. These results prove that we have moved in the right direction, and I am immensely proud of our students.”

Commissioner Corcoran also expressed his appreciation for our state’s educators, saying, “Florida’s teachers are central to ensuring students develop a strong educational foundation that can be built upon each year. Their endless commitment to preparing future generations is awe-inspiring, and they deserve a great deal of credit for their role in this historic announcement.”   

Below are state-level highlights of Florida’s 2019 assessments.

Statewide Highlights for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics

Compared to 2018, a higher percentage of students passed the 2019 statewide, standardized English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments as highlighted below.

  • In grades 3-10, the percentage of students who passed (Level 3 or higher) the English Language Arts assessment increased by 1 percentage point. Below are highlights for individual grade levels.
  • Grade 6 increased by 3 percentage points.
  • Grades 4 and 9 increased by 2 percentage points.
  • Grades 3, 5 and 7 increased by 1 percentage point.
  • In English Language Arts, charter school performance increased 3 percentage points in grades 3-5 and 1 percentage point overall.
  • In grades 3-8, the percentage of students passing the Florida Standards Assessments in Mathematics and end-of-course assessments increased by 1 percentage point. Below are highlights for individual grade levels.
  • Grade 6 increased by 3 percentage points.
  • Grades 4 and 8 increased by 2 percentage points.
  • Grade 7 increased by 1 percentage point. 
  • In grades 6-8, charter school performance in Mathematics (Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course assessments) increased by 2 percentage points.
  • The percentage of students passing the statewide end-of-course assessment in Geometry increased by 1 percentage point.
  • Charter school performance increased by 3 percentage points on the statewide Geometry assessment and by 1 percentage point on the statewide Algebra 1 assessment.

Statewide Highlights for Science and Social Studies

Compared to 2018, a higher percentage of Florida students passed the statewide, standardized Biology 1 and U.S. History assessments.

  • The percentage of students passing the statewide Biology 1 assessment increased 2 percentage points.
  • The percentage of students passing the statewide U.S. History assessment went up by 1 percentage point. 
  • Charter school performance increased by 2 percentage points on the statewide Biology 1 and U.S. History assessments and by 1 percentage point on the Civics assessment.

Closing the Achievement Gap and Subgroup Increases

For nearly 20 years, Florida has worked diligently to close the achievement gap. Every student is entitled to an education that prepares them for lifelong success and to tackle life’s challenges. Students today are excelling at rates that far exceed those of two decades ago. With more rigorous standards, higher expectations and high-quality instruction, students of all subgroups have responded with increased achievement.

For example, in 2001 on grades 3-10 FCAT Reading, 59% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 26% of African American students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 33 points). In 2019, on grades 3-10 FSA ELA, 67% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 38% of African American students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 29 points). And in 2001, on grades 3-10 FCAT Reading, 59% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 35% of Hispanic students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 24 points). In 2019, on grades 3-10 FSA ELA, 67% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 52% of Hispanic students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 15 points).

The achievement gap in grades 6-8 English Language Arts, grades 3-8 Mathematics, Geometry, Biology 1, U.S. History and Civics narrowed between 2018 and 2019, and subgroup performance increased across multiple subject areas.

  • In grades 3-10, English Language Arts performance increased by 2 percentage points for white students, and by 1 percentage point for African American students, Hispanic students and students with disabilities.
  • African American students, white students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English language learners all decreased the percentage scoring at the lowest level in English Language Arts. 
  • In grades 6-8, the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points, while the achievement gap between African American and white students narrowed by 1 percentage point in English Language Arts.
  • The percentage of Hispanic students and students with disabilities in grades 3-8 passing the Mathematics assessments (Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course assessments) increased by 2 percentage points, while African American students, white students, and English language learners each increased performance by 1 percentage point. The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white counterparts narrowed by 1 percentage point.    
  • In Mathematics, the achievement gap between African American and white students and between Hispanic and white students in grades 3-5 narrowed by 1 percentage point.
  • In Geometry, African American students increased the percentage passing by 2 percentage points, narrowing the achievement gap with their white counterparts. Additionally, students with disabilities increased their performance by 1 percentage point.
  • African American students, Hispanic students, English language learners, and students with disabilities all decreased the percentage scoring at the lowest level in Geometry.
  • All subgroups increased performance in Biology 1. African American students increased by 3 percentage points, Hispanic students and students with disabilities increased by 2 percentage points, and white students, economically disadvantaged students and English language learners increased by 1 percentage point.
  • In Biology 1, the achievement gap between African American and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points and the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 1 percentage point.
  • In U.S. History, African American students increased the percentage passing by 3 percentage points, Hispanic students increased by 2 percentage points, and white students increased by 1 percentage point, narrowing the achievement gap between African American and white students by 2 percentage points and Hispanic and white students by 1 percentage point.
  • Also in U.S. History, the percentage of students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students passing the assessment went up.
  • In Civics, the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points, as Hispanic performance increased while the performance of their white counterparts remained the same. Students with disabilities and English language learners also increased the percentage of students passing the Civics assessment by 2 percentage points.

To view the statewide and district-level results, visit 2019 Assessment Results.

 

Charter Schools Account for More than One Quarter of the Top High Schools in South Florida, According to Results of a Study by U.S. News & World Report

Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) Congratulates the 27 Charter Schools on the List

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (June 19, 2019) – More than one quarter of the top 99 high schools in South Florida are public charter schools, according to results of a study by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report identified the top 99 high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties based on specific criteria, including, “schools whose attendees demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading assessments, passed a diverse array of college-level exams and graduated in high proportions.”  Twenty-seven of the schools on the list are listed as charter schools by the Florida Department of Education.

The top ranked public charter school on the list is International Studies Charter High School, Miami.  It is ranked third on the list of 99 top high schools in South Florida.  International Studies Charter High School is a member of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.

The top public charter high schools in South Florida, with their U.S. News & World Report rankings, are:

3.  International Studies Charter High School, Miami

6.  Archimedean Upper Conservatory Charter School, Miami

11. Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy, Doral

13. Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Miami

17. MAST Academy, Key Biscayne

18. Doral Academy Charter High School, Doral

20. MAST Academy at Homestead

22. Somerset Arts Conservatory, Pembroke Pines

24. Mater Academy Charter High, Hialeah Gardens

25. Mater Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy, Hialeah Gardens

27. Somerset Academy Charter High School, Pembroke Pines

31. Mater Academy Lakes High School, Hialeah

34. Somerset Academy Charter High School, Homestead

35. Mater Academy East Charter High School, Miami

37. Pembroke Pines Charter High School, Pembroke Pines

40. City of Hialeah Education Academy, Hialeah

45. Imater Preparatory Academy High School, Hialeah

53. Doctors Charter School of Miami Shores

66. G-Star School of the Arts, West Palm Beach

67. Miami Arts Charter, Miami

69. Pinecrest Preparatory Academy Charter High School, Miami

74. Inlet Grove Community High School, Riviera Beach

83. South Tech Academy, Boynton Beach

84. City of Coral Springs Charter, Coral Springs

88. Somerset Academy Canyons High School, Boynton Beach

90. Charter High School of the Americas, Miami

93. Somerset Academy Charter High School Miramar Campus

“The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools congratulates South Florida’s best high schools, and specifically the 27 charter schools on the list, said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.  “We salute their students, teachers and administrators for this meaningful recognition.”

The complete list of 2019 rankings of the nation’s charter high schools by U.S. News & World Report is available at this link: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings/charter-school-rankings

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 

Florida charter school leader to be Inducted into the national Charter School Hall of Fame

Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) Congratulates Academica President Fernando Zulueta

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (May 15, 2019) – A longtime leader in the Florida charter school movement will be inducted into the Charter School Hall of Fame by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.  Fernando Zulueta, who is President of Miami-based Academica, is one of three individuals who will be inducted at the National Conference of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, scheduled for June 30 to July 3 in Las Vegas, Nev.

In 1997, Zulueta joined parents and community members to establish one of Florida’s first charter schools, Somerset Neighborhood School, in Miramar, Fla.  He went on to found Academica in 1999; it is a network that has grown to more than 180 charter schools serving approximately 90,000 students across the country.  

Academica’s schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools, ranked among U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools and College Success Award winners by Great Schools.

Zulueta’s partnerships have helped to bring more resources and visibility to the charter school movement.  He founded the highly successful and sought-after Sports Leadership Academy Management (SLAM) charter schools with entertainer Amando Christian Perez (Pitbull), catching the attention of celebrities including Kanye West, who toured one of the schools with Zulueta and Pitbull last year.

“The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools congratulates Fernando Zulueta on this important career achievement and national honor,” said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS).  “We recognize his major impact on the charter school movement in Florida and beyond.”

Each year since 2007, the National Alliance has welcomed a new group of charter school leaders into the Charter School Hall of Fame.  This year’s honorees join 41 individuals and organizations, all nominated by their peers for their long-term commitment and contributions to the charter school movement.

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 

U.S. News & World Report Magazine Ranks Three Florida Charter High Schools Among Nation's Top 50 Charter High Schools

Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) Congratulates the three Florida Schools

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (May 8, 2019) – Three of Florida’s public charter high schools have been ranked in the top 50 of all charter high schools in the United States, according to rankings prepared and recently released by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

The three Florida charter high schools and their 2019 rankings among U.S. charter high schools are:

  • International Studies Charter High School, Miami, ranked number 11 among U.S. charter high schools and number 41 among all U.S. high schools.  421 students are enrolled in grades nine through 12 at the school.  It ranked fourth on the list of all Florida high schools, according to U.S. News.
  • Archimedean Upper Conservatory Charter School, Miami, ranked number 17 among U.S. charter high schools and number 79 among all U.S. high schools.  The school has a 100 percent graduation rate, according to U.S. News.  It ranked ninth on the list of all Florida high schools.
  • Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy, Doral, Fla., ranked number 37 among U.S. charter high schools and number 146 among all U.S. high schools.  It ranked fifteenth among all Florida high schools.

“The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools congratulates Florida’s three top 50 charter high schools and salutes their students, teachers and administrators for their truly remarkable accomplishments,” said Robert Haag, President of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.  “This is a great opportunity to increase visibility and recognition of public charter schools in our state.

The complete list of 2019 rankings of the nation’s charter high schools by U.S. News & World Report is available at this link: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings/charter-school-rankings

About the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools

The Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools (FCPCS) is the leading charter school membership association in the state, with a membership of nearly 75 percent of all operating charter schools.  Since its inception in 1999, FCPCS has been dedicated to creating a national model of high quality, accredited public charter schools that are student-centered and performance-driven.  FCPCS provides a wide array of technical support, mentoring, training, networking, and purchasing services to its membership, as well as serving as an advocate for all Florida public charter schools.

 
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