MIAMI-DADE SCHOOLS IMPROVE STATE GRADES
MIAMI – More than three times the number of Miami-Dade County schools raised their state accountability grades in 2005 as saw a grade drop, with the majority of schools maintaining their grades despite tougher standards.
Eighty-five of 317 schools in Miami-Dade County improved their letter grades, including nine schools that erased a failing grade. Only 26 schools saw their grades fall, and only two schools dropped to an F. In reporting school grades, the Florida Department of Education includes both charter schools and alternative schools in its results for Miami-Dade.
Sixteen schools in all received an F, but 11 of those schools were alternative schools that were graded for the first time this year. None of the county’s middle schools or K-8 centers received an F, and the number of senior high schools receiving an F dropped to three from four in 2004.
Most schools maintained their grades despite being held accountable for the first time this year for learning gains among students with limited English proficiency (LEP) or with special needs. Miami-Dade County has the highest percentage of special education and LEP students of any school system in Florida.
In addition, the score students were expected to reach on the writing section of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) rose this spring.
Nonetheless, more than half of the county’s schools earned a grade of A or B for the second year in a row. Nearly half – 46 percent – have earned an A or B for three consecutive years.
Fifteen of the 39 schools that have extended school days and school year and that receive additional support as part of the School Improvement Zone raised their letter grades, including seven of the Zone’s 11 middle schools. The Zone schools were selected this fall based on chronic poor academic performance for at least three years across schools in a neighborhood.
Among STELLAR schools – an initiative targeting schools whose recent gains were seen as fragile – 15 of the 28 schools improved their state grades.