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The grades are in: District improves

Seventy-percent of county schools scored A's or B's based on the FCAT tests but still lag behind in the state and some of Tampa Bay.

By MARY SPICUZZA
Published June 15, 2006

Seventy percent of Pasco County schools received an A or B grade this year, according to state data released Wednesday.

That's an improvement over last year, when 61 percent of the district's schools got A's or B's.

"We're very excited," superintendent Heather Fiorentino said. "This is wonderful news for all of the staff and students."

The district received the same percentage of A's and B's as Hernando County, but it trailed the state and other districts in the Tampa Bay area.

Statewide, 75 percent of schools earned A's or B's. In Citrus, it was 83; in Pinellas, it was 78; and in Hillsborough, 74.

Pasco's school grades are as follows: 23 A's, 17 B's, and 15 C's. Pasco High School was district's only school that received a D. No school got an F.

This year, 23 Pasco schools received A's, compared to 15 last year.

School grades are based on student scores on the math, reading and writing parts of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which is taken by every student in grades 3-10.

The grading formula includes the school's overall scores but also factors in improvement among low-performing students.

District officials said that Pasco High was actually graded a C, but the final grade was reduced by one letter because it missed the adequate progress requirement in reading with its lowest students by 2 percent.

"That school has worked very hard this year and put many programs in place to help students," Fiorentino said.

Pasco assistant superintendent for curriculum and instructional services Sandra Ramos added that Pasco High has the highest number of non-English speaking students of any high school in the district.

Hudson High School, which received a D last year, improved its score to a C.

Several other schools - such as Gulf Middle, River Ridge Middle/High and James M. Marlowe - jumped from C's in 2005 to A scores this year.

The annual release of school grades Wednesday was welcome news after last year's scores.

That's when the number of A grades dropped to nearly half what it was in 2004, and the number of C grades had more than doubled.

Mary Spicuzza covers education in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6241 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6241. Her e-mail address is mspicuzza@sptimes.com.

[Last modified June 15, 2006, 07:20:24]


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