After increasing its number of A-level schools, the Collier County School District came just four points shy of an A in district grades — for the second year in a row.
But in a year when 58 percent of district grades dropped statewide, Collier Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton isn’t complaining about maintaining the grade.
“It may not have been enough to be an A,” she said of scoring 521 points, the same as last year. “But it certainly outperformed everybody else.”
Released Friday by the state Department of Education, district grades fell across the board this year as result of tougher standards and more inclusive testing, which led to a decrease in A-level schools across the state.
School grades, determined on an 800-point scale based primarily on test scores, provide the basis of district grades. This year, Collier was one of just five counties that had more A-level schools than last year.
After seeing that increase, Patton said, “you sit there hoping” for an A.
But only 14 of the state’s 68 districts received the top grade this year, compared to 30 last year. And seven received a D this year, compared to one last year. The cutoff to receive an A was 525 points.
No district went up a grade, and only one — Madison County, in North Florida — received more points than last year. Collier was the only district to receive the same number of points year over year. The remaining 66 districts, including Lee County, saw their points decrease.
Lee County scored 498 points this year, down from 537 last year.
That’s a “big thing” for Collier, Patton said, because people often make comparisons between the two districts. Collier’s point level ranked it 17th in the state this year, while Lee was 30th.
Lee’s point loss earned the district a B this year, breaking a three-years of straight A’s.
“We knew FCAT 2.0 was going to result in a slight drop in academic performance, but we are very confident that our student and school grades will start to climb and so, too, will the district’s,” Lee County Superintendent Joseph Burke said in a statement. “We’re ready to do the hard work to ensure our students perform at the highest levels.”
Patton said the Collier school district is thrilled about this year’s results — and appreciative of the teachers and community support that earned them — but there’s still more work to be done.
“We’re four points from an A,” she said. “We’ll get there. We’ll get there.”
To view the grades, visit http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/