PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Bay District School leaders now have more data to use as they begin to plan for the upcoming school year.
The Florida Department of Education released school grades Wednesday morning.
Overall, the district maintained its "B" grade but came within four points of earning an "A."
Among the individual school grades in the district, 13 schools improved at least one letter grade, 25 schools maintained their grades, and one school Patronis Elementary School dropped one letter grade.
"I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a "B" in my life, just knowing the time and energy and effort that our teachers and our students and our administrators are putting in to make our district so successful this year," Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.
Two elementary schools made huge improvements in scores.
"Very few times in my life have I been at a loss for words, but there for a few minutes I was," Cherry Street Elementary Principal Blythe Carpenter said.
Carpenter was speechless when she learned her students improved their school grade from an "F" to a "B."
Cedar Grove Elementary School also raised its grade from an "F" to a "C."
Cherry Street, Cedar Grove, Lucille Moore, Oakland Terrace, Southport, Springfield, and Oscar Patterson Elementary's were among Florida's bottom 300 school in reading last year. State law required those schools to offer an additional hour of reading instruction every day.
"We went back to the basics. We had a very low reading proficiency score in learning gains and just across the board, and we knew that was an area we really wanted to focus on so we went back to the reading writing and arithmetic," Carpenter said.
The five other schools in the bottom 300 last year also climbed out of the low reading status group, but Lucille Moore, Oscar Patterson, and Springfield will remain in the state's improvement program.
"We know what's working because we've got so much proof of what we've done and what's working so we're going to immolate that in the schools that need to get better," Husfelt said.
Former Cedar Grove Principal Phillip Campbell won't be around, however, to continue to build on his success.
The state pushed Husfelt to make an administrative change at Cedar Grove last month before grades were released. Husfelt appointed Shirley Baker as a special Turnaround Principal and moved Campbell to Lynn Haven Elementary to serve as the Assistant Administrator.
"There are dynamics behind what we did at Cedar Grove that aren't obvious to the people that aren't in education and so we are very confident in the plan we've set up. I'm very confident in Phillip Campbell. Wherever Phillip goes, he'll be successful too, but sometimes you just need a change in leadership," Husfelt said about his decision.
District and school grades were released by Florida's education officials Wednesday.
Bay, Jackson, Walton, Gulf and Washington school districts were all rated a B. The Franklin and Holmes school districts were rated C.
Bay High School was rated a C. Mosley and Arnold High Schools were Bs. Rutherford High School was rated I for incomplete. Deane Bozeman was rated a B.
Each of the Bay Haven Charter schools was rated an A. Oscar Patterson Elementary School was rated an F.
This is a developing story and we will have more online later today and on-air at 5, 6 and 10. You can view the grades at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.
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