Grades released for Central Florida schools

Schools on 300 lowest performing school list eligible for extra hour of instruction

By Michelle Dendy - Web Editor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Education on Friday released its preliminary grades for schools and Central Florida was among the lowest and the highest ranking school grades.

[READ: Full list of Central Florida school grades| Lowest performing elementary schools in Central Fla. ]

More Florida elementary and middle schools earned a preliminary "A" on their annual school grades-- a total of 962 schools. However, the state Department of Education says the number earning an "F" increased in 2014, as well.

Central Florida had 41 schools in the 300 lowest performing schools in the state, meaning the schools are eligible to have an extra hour of instruction. Orange County Public Schools said that the extra hour at eligible Orange County schools will be effective in the 2014-2015 school year.

"It's an adjustment, definitely an adjustment," said Susan Thomason, whose grandson attends Hamilton Elementary School in Sanford.

Hamilton had to add that extra hour when it made the list last year, and it made for some tough times within the family.

"It made things tough on my daughter, as far as the time she had to be at work, and then I had to step in (to help)," she said.

OCPS also said nearly 62 percent of schools earned grades of "A" or "B" and 43 schools maintained an "A" grade from the previous year. Thirteen percent of Orange County schools were rated as "D" or "F" schools.

Seminole County Public Schools said it remains an "A-rated" district based upon the school grade data and was one of 10 Florida public school districts to be A-rated. Combined, 81 percent of SCPS elementary and middle schools received a grade of "A" or "B."

In Volusia County, the number of "A" middle and elementary schools increased from 11 to 14 schools in 2014, according to a school district release. 41 schools were ranked as "B" or "C" and six schools were ranked "D" or "F."

In Osceola County, 66 percent of schools maintained or showed an increase in their school grades. Eleven schools received "A" grades, 7 received "B" grades, 20 received "C" grades and 5 received "D" or "F" grades.

In Lake County, 13 schools earned an "A" or "B" grade, more than doubling its number of "A" scores from the previous year, according to a Lake County Schools release. Fourteen schools also fell a letter grade from the 2012-2013 school year.

Brevard Public Schools said Brevard County's school grades ranked second in Central Florida, behind Seminole County, 14th in the state, and in the top 20 percent. Seventy-five percent, or 48 elementary and middle school maintained or improved their school grade.

High school grades will be released in late fall when the other half of the new grading components are calculated together with the FCAT points released on Friday, according to Volusia school officials.

School grades are based on assessment-based performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, along with other requirements. Click here to learn more.

This year marks the final year for Florida's current A-to-F grading system, which has been in place since 1999. A new state standardized exam is also being developed.   Officials say the new grading system will be more simple and transparent.

Under a special provision, no school will drop more than a letter grade this year. The controversial rule was adopted after complaints the current system had become too complicated.

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