Education

Middle School Academic Rankings….not so good

January 30, 2012

There are 583 middle schools in Florida. Escambia County only has 4 in the top 50%–one of which, Brown Barge, is a magnet school.

Top 10%
Brown Barge #46

Top 20%
Ransom Middle #111

Top 50%
Ernest Ward #200
Bailey #225

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Bottom 40%
Ferry Pass

Bottom 20%
Workman

Bottom 10%
Woodham
Warrington
Bellview

  • Lori February 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    No surprise. Kids are not given a genuine education. The STEM program does not instill writing, reasoning, or critical thinking skills. Of course, kids do not improve in college, specifically those in business school (a joke of an education). Go back to a basic liberal arts education where kids develop their intellectual and moral faculties.

  • eric February 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    It is good to hear from folks with experience in the schools such as Pat Kerrigan.

  • Pat Kerrigan February 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Rick: This is Pat Kerrigan, former principal of Brown-Barge Middle School for several years and now retired. I just wanted to say that the Brown-Barge ranking is not so much due to its magnet status as it is to the unique integrative curriculum which has been, again and again, demonstrated to be the most effective way to deliver academic curricula to all age groups. But it is particularly ideal for the middle school student.

    Hands-on, thematic units of study appeal to students who are periodically surveyed so that offerings are constantly updated. New curriculum is designed by faculty and tailored to the ever changing interests of middle school kids. Grade level academic standards are woven into and through the units of study and students’ learning is tied to real world issues and simlations – aplied math, applied language arts, applied social studies, applied science – information learned always has a use and a context.

    Kids test well because their learning is relevant, useful and applicable. Students are allowed to select themes of keen interest to them and teachers are allowed to select which themes they would like to teach – most are certified in several academic areas to accomodate scheduling four or five thematic units each trimester.

    It is true that the amazing faculty and staff are supported by a large number of caring and involved parents. Of course, if all schools had similar parental involvement, I am certain that they would significally increase in these kinds of rankings.

    It should be noted that while the school requires an application process and uses a lotterized selection procedure, the popular misconception that all BBMS students are high achievers or gifted is definitely not true. Every year there are many students admitted who struggle with reading or math below grade level and appropriate additional support services are provided to assist them to increase their academic skills. However, it is still the integrative curriculum and instruction offered that most contributes to the increased achievement of stuggling students. In my view, these are the reasons BBMS has a history of significant success.

    Finally, in the test-driven atmosphere of public education today, it is an ongoing stuggle to keep innovative curriculum alive. I wish folks would realize that when kids are given relevant and useful instruction, no matter how good or how flawed the testing material itself may be, students will do well because they deeply understand what they have learned. Knowledge is not dependent upon recall of memorized information but is based on real world issues and events. Kids at BBMS can always explain to visitors what they are learning, why they are learning it, and how they will use the information in their future.

    Thanks for letting me comment on this wonderful school.

  • This is dumb January 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Why didn’t you publish the numbered ranking of the bottom schools? Ferry Pass is an A school. Bailey is an A school. Were there 200+ A schools? Probably so. This is more than a little misleading.

    • Rick Outzen February 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      The rankings are the rankings. Some A schools are better than others.