July 11, 2019
Wakulla County School District earned an “A” rating and had the eighth highest district score in the state of all 67 public school districts in Florida for the number of points possible in the 2018-2019 school year.
In addition, Wakulla continued its “A” grade designation for the third year in a row.
District and school grades were released by the Florida Department of Education on July 11.
“To have the eighth highest district score in the state for the number of points possible earned in Florida’s grading system speaks to the dedication of our teachers, students, administrators, and parents,” stated Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
Wakulla was eighth in number of points earned after St. John’s, Sarasota, Nassau, Lafayette, Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa public school districts.
In addition, Wakulla was the second highest ranking school district to earn an “A” in PAEC (the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium) of 14 school districts: Calhoun, FAMU DRS, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington. Only Walton had more points than Wakulla.
“Teachers and staff making those personal connections with students is what makes the difference in students wanting to do their best. You can give students what they need to know, but they respond tenfold when their teachers really care about their success.
“We celebrate this “A” rating, and we are already planning for areas that need improvement,” said Pearce.
Individual school grades are:
“A” - Crawfordville Elementary School, Shadeville Elementary School, Wakulla Middle School, Wakulla High School
“B” - Riversink Elementary School and Riversprings Middle School
“C” - Medart Elementary School
“D”- COAST Independent Charter School, whose grade also factors into the Wakulla district grade
Students in grades 3 through 10 were assessed on English Language Arts (ELA) and Math standards. In addition, students were assessed on Science in Grades 5 and 8; Biology in high school; and Social Studies for Grade 7 in Civics and Grade 11 in U.S. History.
There are 11 categories in which school districts earn points for a district grade designation. These include the percent of students who “pass” the tests with a 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 5.
“Just as important as scoring a 3 or higher is digging into how much of a Learning Gain each student makes from year. Struggling students get intensive help, and students who can achieve higher than a passing score of 3 are challenged to aim for 4’s and 5’s.
“Teachers are already dissecting the Learning Gains of their past and upcoming students to see what sub-categories in each standard could be taught more effectively,” added Pearce.
Other categories besides test scores helped Wakulla School District earn an “A”. Riversprings Middle School and Wakulla Middle School combined for Wakulla’s “Middle School Acceleration Rate”.
Middle School Acceleration is defined as the percentage of middle school students who pass high school End of Course (EOC) exams such as Algebra 1 and Geometry to earn high school credit. In addition, it counts those students who earn Industry Certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist.
“We also concentrate on the ‘Graduation Rate’ cell that is part of the District Grade. This is the percent of students who graduate within four years of entering Wakulla High School as 9th graders. Some students thrive with different types of instruction such as virtual classes or smaller settings, so there are individualized pathways to graduation,” said Sunny Chancy, Chief Academic Officer.
Wakulla High School students also added to the “A” district grade in the category of business-recognized Industry Certifications earned in Career and Technical classes. For example, there is usually a 100% passing rate of students in the WHS Medical Academy who earn their Certified Nursing Assistant credentials while in high school.
Dual Enrollment college credit classes passed also add to the District Grade. Advanced Placement courses whose students pass the final standardized AP test for college credit are also factored in.
“We have more and more students graduating with college credits and even finishing their AA (Associate of Arts) degrees before high school graduation, at no college tuition expense to their parents,” added Pearce.
Percent tested is also considered. Wakulla tested 99 percent of its students. Districts cannot earn an “A” grade unless they test at least 95 percent of their students.
“Although it is not our only measure of success, it is rewarding to be designated an ‘A’ school district by state standards. We look forward to meeting the high goals we are already setting for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Thank you to the dedicated faculties and staffs at each school, plus the supportive parents and Wakulla community that truly make this a celebration of our children and their futures,” said Pearce.