MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade and Broward school officials praised their students, faculty and staff for all their hard work, days after the Florida Department of Education released better-then-expected overall grades for public schools in both counties.
According to the 2015-2016 school year report, released on Friday by the FLDOE, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) outperformed the state in percentage of schools rated “A” and “B.” Even though the number of “A” rated schools dropped considerably across the state, under the new formula, 30 percent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools received an “A” rating.
M-DCPS also outpaced schools statewide in the percentage receiving “A” ratings by each school type, including elementary, middle, senior high and combination grade schools.
“Miami-Dade’s school performance grades demonstrate the high quality of teaching and academic enrichment in classrooms across the school district,” said M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho in a statement. “Even as accountability standards continue to change, our students and schools turned in strong and impressive results. I applaud the creativity of our instructional staff and the academic focus of our students.”
Thirty percent of all M-DCPS schools received “A” ratings for the year, compared to just 23 percent statewide. Furthermore, fewer M-DCPS schools received “F” ratings than schools statewide.
A handful of M-DCPS schools jumped multiple letter scores, like Shadowlawn Elementary in Miami, which went from an “F” to a “B.”
Carvalho said he never expected to see M-DCPS come out on top. “In terms of these schools in that area, of Liberty City and Overtown, they went from 23 Ds to nine Ds,” said Carvalho. “I don’t recall a time where we have seen — in light of the fact that the exam was a tougher exam and the standards were more complex — where we saw the elimination or the aggressive reduction of low-performing, very fragile schools in one of the poorest, most diverse districts in the state.”
Latisia Roundtree Heath, the parent of two girls who go to Shadowlawn Elementary, told 7News she had a little more confidence in her children’s future now that their school is no longer failing. “Education comes first in my home,” she said.
Carvalho said he was proud of the district, specifically for what they were able to accomplish under a tougher grading system, and congratulated the schools that have struggled but saw gains.
“Let us not forget that the work here, trust me on this, is tougher than the work elsewhere,” said Carvalho during a press conference, Monday.” Few districts are as big as Miami-Dade’s. In fact, in the state of Florida, none are as poor or as diverse, none of them deal with the fact that we have 73,000 kids still learning English, but they have to sit for the exam and take it.”
“I push my kids. That’s good,” said Roundtree Heath.
Five schools moved from an “F” to a “C” rating. For the second year in a row, no high schools in Miami-Dade received an “F” rating.
Some Miami-Dade principals revealed how they were able to increase their schools’ grades. “We focused on a lot of small group instruction,” said Maria E. Calvet-Cuba, the principal at Jesse McCrary Elementary in Miami.
North Miami Elementary Principal Debra Dubin said her students benefited from “after-school Saturday school.”
According to the report, Broward, one of the five largest school districts in Florida, decreased their proportion of “A” grades and increased their proportion of “Bs,” “Cs,” and “Ds.”
“We saw a reduction in high schools that were ‘A’ rated,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, “and that’s par for the course in what we’ve seen across the state as the grading system and standards become more rigorous.”
However, 36 of Broward’s traditional schools maintained an “A” grade. Only one school, Discovery Elementary School, increased from a “B” to an “A” school.
“Today’s grades release serves as a new baseline for school districts across Florida,” said Runcie. “Overall, we know our students are achieving academically, and we acknowledge that there is still more work to be done. I commend the hard work of our students, teachers, school leaders and all staff in our District. We’ll continue to work together to ensure our students have the skills for long-term success.”
Among the traditional schools, the number and percent of “F” grades decreased from 22 to 8. Furthermore, Broward County earned a District grade of “B” for the third year in a row.
Carvalho said he will work hard on Miami-Dade’s remaining “F” schools and plans to announce new programs soon. “I’m very happy but not satisfied,” he said. “We will not rest in the shadow of yesterday’s success.”
Grades were computed following the rules adopted by the Florida Board of Education. For more information, visit the Florida Department of Education website at schoolgrades.fldoe.org.
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