How does society as a whole clearly determine if our school system or our proposed system standards can be viewed in a manner other than calculated points and percentages when determining if expectations are being met, or more importantly, what are the expectations that are being pursued. A recent article via Palm Beach County School District's e-mail news stated that the school district earned a total of 519 out of 800 points in 2014, making Palm Beach County the highest performing large urban school district in Florida – and only six points shy of receiving an “A” grade as a district.
When ‘we the public’ are informed of school progress in these terms, what does it mean? Is it the “institution of learning” that the focus is on, or the individual? Of course the state and local school districts must have some uniformity in their reporting to justify funding for various schools and/or programs from not only the state, but the federal as well. Fraud around the country has been reported of misinformation or doctored information being submitted for numerous reasons which makes for the pessimistic view that all reported school reporting can at times be tainted and therefore be confusing as to what is being accurately represented or interpretations left to wonderment.
No report from the state or local school district can take the place of parent and community interest to ensure quality if we endeavor collectively to obtain high achievable standards. Parents must take the initiative to visit schools, attend parent/teacher conferences, have discussions with their children, talk with fellow parents and even organize small study parties in creative ways to foster and encourage learning and acquiring the ability (stimulate a desire) to do constructive activities/functions to enhance life individually, as families and friends and communities. Our one accord should and must be “quality education and achievement for everyone that seeks it”. We must add quality education and achievements to our daily diets in order to grow up strong together as individuals, families, communities and as a nation. We all need to become ‘squeaky wheels’ in order to get ‘oiled’ for excellent results.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Palm Beach County school district had a higher percentage of “A” district-operated elementary and middle schools compared to the state. Sixty-four percent of district-operated elementary schools and 61 percent of district-operated middle schools are now rated “A” or “B”. Superintendent Gent’s comments pinpoints what continuously must be done:
“While we won’t be satisfied until every student performs at the highest level, we are pleased to see that our performance as a district continues to outperform the state and the other larger urban school districts”.
The Department of Education is scheduled to release the 2014 high school grades in December. The Florida school and district grades are intended to communicate schools and districts performance relative to state standards. The assessment components of schools and districts grades are based on student achievement in reading, math, writing and science. Annual learning gains for each student and the progress of the lowest quartile of students in reading and math are also significant components of the school and district grade. The official Florida Department of Education School Grades can be found athttp://schoolgrades.fldoe.org. Additional district information and data tables are available at www.palmbeachschools.org/dre/NRE/Results.asp.
REF: PBCSD (E-mail News) Public Affairs Office, July 2014
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