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Madison County School District receives “C” rating

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has released the 2014-2015 grades for Florida's school districts. The Madison County School District was given a “C.”

Every year, the FLDOE uses a point system based on student achievement and progress in order to decide which grade each school in the district will receive. This year, FLDOE assessed each school in the district with four achievement components: English and language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. These components include student performances on statewide standard assessments, including comprehensive assessments, end-of-course (EOC) assessments and Florida Alternate Assessments (FAA). Each component is worth 100 points in overall calculation.

Usually, the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) also assesses learning gains, however this was not included in the assessment this year as there is only one year of FSA results available. Next year, test grades will be compared between this year and last year in order to find learning gains.

High school grades are based off of graduation rate, dual enrollment and industry certification.

After all of the grades for each individual school in the county are collected, the district's grade is calculated almost as if the district's students are enrolled in one large combination school. Based on all of the data collected from each school, the FLDOE determines the district's grade as a whole.

Superintendent Doug Brown notes that the Madison County School District hasn't had anything above a D in five years. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the district was given “D's.” In 2013 and 2014, the district received “F's.”

Brown states that the grade went up due to several things.

Acceleration, which is categorized as the number of students who take a high school course while still in middle school, is at a good state in the district; Brown commented that many middle school students have been taking Algebra I, which is a high school level class and a high percentage of those students have been passing the EOC. Another factor that influenced improvement is industry certification, as many students are taking career and technical education (CTE) classes and earning career certifications. “[Our CTE program] is very robust and our students do [really] well passing the exams,” said Brown.

An additional factor Brown mentioned was achievement. Lee Elementary, Pinetta Elementary and James Madison Preparatory High School all had high performance rates.

Graduation rates were also calculated, but Brown said the graduation rates were appealed. “I don't think [the scores were] accurate,” said Brown.

The individual grades for each school in Madison County are as follows:

Madison County High School: Incomplete

Madison County Central School: D

Greenville Elementary School: F

Lee Elementary School: A

Pinetta Elementary School: B

James Madison Preparatory High School: A

Madison County High School's grade is listed as incomplete as evaluation is still ongoing. The grade for Madison County Excel Alternative Center was not listed.

Greenville Elementary School and Madison County Central School's scores are being appealed, according to Brown. GES was just a few points away from making a D and MCCS was just a few points shy of making a C.

Brown anticipates the district will be able to hold on to their “C” and hopes that next year's learning gains assessment will strengthen the score, but it all depends on how the students do throughout the year. “Our main priority is achievement,” said Brown.

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