Guest Commentary: Marco Island Charter Middle School's diversity, 'A' grade

— Our school’s FCAT score of 650 was by far the best score in our 11 year history and surpassed last year’s score by 36 points. On a scale where improving by ten points is superior, to excel by 36 points over a year ago, brings our annual yearly progress to an extraordinary height. When compared to all of the public middle schools reporting in the entire state, Marco Island Charter Middle School ranked 21 out of 575 or in the top 3.65 percent!

Our school accepts students from throughout the entire county and, over the years, the student population has become more diverse. Many people do not know that 30 percent of our students reside off the Island, one of five of our students are listed as ‘economically needy,’ one of five students return home each night to non-English speaking households, 10 percent of our students are classified as learning disabled, and 24 percent of our students are on free and reduced lunch. It appears that our school grade improves as the diversity grows.

I am grateful for the diligent and professional work of our faculty and staff. I am grateful for the hard work of our students and their willingness to rise above the pressures of the FCAT. And, I am grateful for our supportive parents who have volunteered over 6,000 hours this year, for the support that we receive from the School District and from the many Marco civic groups and Islanders.

George Aboundar, Marco Island Charter Middle School principal

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