Newly released school grades data reflects the progress being made by Polk County Public Schools.
The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has announced school grades for 2021-22. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FLDOE did not issue school grades in 2019-20, and school grades were optional in 2020-21 — allowing districts to receive and keep grades for schools that demonstrated improvement.
PCPS’ grades for 2021-22 show that the district is on the right track again after facing many challenges the past few years. The data also highlights areas in need of improvement.
An overview of this year’s school grades:
- PCPS’ district grade is now a C. Before the pandemic, PCPS had earned a B in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- Seven PCPS schools earned an A in 2021-22, up from three the year before.
- Twelve schools earned a B, increasing from seven the prior year.
- The number schools with a D grade dropped from 42 to 18 last year.
- Only one school received an F last year, compared to eight the year before.
- Half of the PCPS schools (7 of 14) under state oversight for improvement were able to increase their grades and exit “turnaround” status. Griffin Elementary — the only school that was facing potential closure this year — earned a C and is no longer under state oversight.
- Several schools came within one point of a higher grade, and PCPS is reviewing whether to appeal those cases with FLDOE.
“We’re encouraged by the latest school grades for PCPS, as they reflect the hard work and progress being made by our students and educators,” said Superintendent Frederick Heid. “Our students and schools have faced tremendous hardships in recent years, but we are clearly moving in the right direction again.”
“While we are encouraged by the growth and overall improvement demonstrated this year, we must also acknowledge the fact that our overall proficiency in reading and mathematics remains far too low. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we remain focused on fulfilling our primary responsibility of ensuring that our students are academically literate and have the necessary skills to succeed post-graduation. We will use our current data to identify areas of need. We are looking at more than the school’s grade; it is crucial that we look at subgroup performance to identify needs and where to infuse additional supports. It’s also unfortunate that our district grade declined, but we will continue to do whatever it takes to make sure our students succeed,” Heid said.
FLDOE officials said the school grades for 2021-22 “defied conventional wisdom and established a foundation for further closing achievement gaps.”
“From Spring 2021 to Spring 2022, it’s clear that our teachers and school leaders used every resource at their disposal to lift Florida’s students well beyond expectations,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “We know that these results are thanks to policies that kept schools open and kept kids in the classroom, which has been widely recognized as critical to student achievement. Today we can celebrate these incredible results, while continuing to support the schools that are struggling.”
For a complete list of PCPS and Florida school grades, please visit https://www.fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/