The Washington Elementary School Sharks were celebrating on Wednesday, with the news from the Florida Department of Education that the school moved its grade from an F in 2016 to a B in 2017.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Washington Elementary Principal Sandra Edwards. “I’ve got a great staff, I’ve got great teachers here, and everyone played a part.”
Washington Elementary was one of three schools operated by the School District of Palm Beach County that improved by two or more letter grades, as part of the preliminary school grades released Wednesday by the Department of Education. The other two schools that raised their grades by at least two letters were Liberty Park Elementary, which improved from a D to a B, and Grove Park Elementary, which moved from an F to a C.
Edwards attributed her school’s success to “perseverance and dedication” by the school’s teachers, staff, students and parents. She and her team put a game plan in place last summer to boost the school’s grade, “and we never looked back.”
Washington Elementary strategy included “double-down instruction,” where students worked with two teachers in one classroom. If students were not working directly with a teacher, they were completing computer-based lessons that targeted students’ areas for academic improvement.
Overall, 30 schools operated by the School District of Palm Beach County improved by at least one letter grade. A total of 63 District-operated schools earned A’s from the state and 35 schools earned B’s, which equals 61 percent of traditional schools in Palm Beach County. No District-operated school received an F this year, and only eight District-operated schools received a D.
Twelve District-operated schools improved from a B to an A, including:
- Allamanda Elementary School
- Banyan Creek Elementary School
- Boca Raton Community Middle School
- Hammock Pointe Elementary School
- Jerry Thomas Elementary School
- Meadow Park Elementary School
- Olympic Heights Community High School
- Palm Beach Public School
- Poinciana STEM Elementary Magnet School
- Sandpiper Shores Elementary School
- The Conservatory School at North Palm Beach
- Woodlands Middle School
“We are very proud of our students, teachers and administrators for making Palm Beach County schools the highest performing large, urban school district in the state. We have the highest percentage of A and B rated schools in several years and no F-rated schools,” said Dr. David Christiansen, Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Schools for the School District of Palm Beach County. “This is a testament that our school district is delivering results aligned to our mission to provide a world-class education with equity and access for all students.”
Student performance on the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) provides the foundation for state grades, based on a school grading system adopted by the State Board of Education.
Districts and schools are rated “A” through “F” based on a percentage of points earned. Schools that did not test at least 95 percent of students received an “I.” The School District of Palm Beach County received a B for the 2016-2017 school year.
The 2016-2017 school year is the second year of the state’s revamped accountability system, where FSA learning gains are included in school grades.