Polk County Public Schools continues to make gains in student academic performance and its graduation rate.
The school district has issued a report updating its progress on the five goals identified in its strategic plan. The report, which was presented to the School Board in late September, is available for download below.
“I am excited to see improvement in virtually every aspect of our district,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
“While we present improvements as data on paper, it is important to remember the real-life impact of our efforts. When we talk about academic achievement and graduation rates, we are talking about real children, who will be better prepared to succeed at the next level of their education and in the next chapter of their lives because of the hard work of so many individuals throughout the district. Each of us plays a part in making our schools thriving centers of learning. Our success hinges upon everyone striving to do their best to help each child flourish. Our strategic plan keeps the focus where it should be: on putting Students First.”
Highlights from the strategic plan report include:
- Polk County Public Schools is a “B” district for the first time in eight years, according to grades released in June by the Florida Department of Education.
- The number of schools receiving a grade of A, B or C has steadily increased, reaching 94 in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of schools receiving a D or F has steadily decreased, numbering only seven in 2018.
- The graduation rate for the district’s 14 traditional high schools rose to 82 percent, according to the latest data from the 2016-17 school year, the most recent data available. When charter high schools are included, the graduation rate rose to 75.4 percent. The graduation rate is the highest it’s been in a decade.
- Students with disabilities are graduating in larger numbers: In 2016-17, the graduation rate was 50.3 percent, up from 41.8 percent just two years prior.
- The student dropout rate is the lowest it’s been in five years, standing at 8.4 percent in 2016.17, down from 11.9 percent in 2012-13.
- Polk County Public Schools also increased its teacher retention rate to 73 percent in 2017-18 — a gain of 2 percentage points.
Polk County Public Schools aims to become an “A” district by the 2020-21 school year, with a graduation rate of 78.5 percent, according to the district’s strategic plan. The plan’s goals also include reducing the dropout for student for students improving the district’s public perception.