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Wakulla Third Graders Excel in State, Panhandle, and Region on 2019 State Test

May 31, 2019

Wakulla County public school third grade scores rank 8th in Florida, 2nd in the Panhandle, and 1st in the Region on the recently released 2019 Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) in English Language Arts (ELA).

By Florida state law, third grade is the only mandatory retention grade. Promotion is based on these ELA state test scores.

Research from the U.S. Department of Education shows that third grade is the critical time for concentrated reading intervention taught in ELA classes in order to keep students on track for successful progress in school.

District scores include those from Crawfordville Elementary, Medart Elementary, Riversink Elementary, Shadeville Elementary and COAST Independent Charter School.

The state score rankings include the standard 67 public school districts.

Wakulla’s third grade ELA ranking of 8th in the state at 67 percent proficient compares to the state average of 58 percent proficient. Proficiency is defined as scoring at or above grade level with a 3, 4, or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5.

Florida’s Panhandle consists of 21 school districts. Wakulla ranks 2nd after Santa Rosa County.

Regionally, Wakulla ranks first out of 9 surrounding counties. Other school districts in Wakulla’s region listed in order by scores after Wakulla are Liberty, Calhoun, Leon, Taylor, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and Gadsden.

“I am encouraged by this first round of released scores,” said Superintendent Bobby Pearce. “Not only did our third graders rank high in the State, Panhandle, and Region, their scores also showed improvement from last year’s scores.

“We have 10 fewer third grade students than last year who need to attend Summer Reading Camp. This is evidence that our teachers and students are working hard during the school year to meet and exceed the Florida State Standards for third grade ELA.”

The Wakulla Third Grade Summer Reading Camp will focus on intense reading and language instruction in small classes with highly skilled elementary teachers working on students’ individual needs. If retained third grade students can meet the state standards by the end of Summer Reading Camp, they may be promoted to fourth grade.

“Besides the great efforts of our third grade teachers and students, we believe that another one of the reasons our third graders improved was due to instituting a new Second Grade Summer Reading Camp last summer,” added Superintendent Pearce.

“Why wait until our students are struggling readers as the work gets harder in third grade? This Second Grade Summer Reading Camp is a preventative measure to ensure a good start to the next school year. It was successful last summer, so we are continuing it this summer,” noted Chief Academic Officer Sunny Chancy.

These are the first 2019 state test scores released by the Florida Department of Education. Third grade ELA scores are needed this soon in order set up the Third Grade Summer Reading Camp.

Parents of children who qualify have been notified about specifics of the Wakulla Summer Reading Camps, which are offered at no cost for instruction, transportation, breakfast and lunch. Curriculum Coordinator Lori Sandgren is supervising the camps.

Yet to be released are the rest of the 2019 state ELA and Math scores in grades 3 through 10, plus Science scores in grades 5 and 8.

Other state scores coming in will be End of Course (EOC) exam scores in 7th grade Civics, high school Biology, and 11th grade United States History. State EOC exam scores for students in combined grade levels for Algebra 1 and Geometry will be out as well.

These additional scores will be released in late June and are the basis for school letter grades assigned by the Florida Department of Education.

“We will get a better picture of our school district’s achievements and look at where we can improve when all of the scores are released, but I commend the hard work of our students, teachers, reading coaches, and administrators who put their focus on improving third graders’ reading and language skills every day to get these positive results,” praised Superintendent Pearce.