Politics

This past school year, Escambia County had five schools under turnaround watch

July 28, 2016

There has been nearly no publicity that the Escambia County School District this past school year had six schools under state scrutiny for their low performance in FY 2013-14. Three have bounced back, and the rest appear to be in danger of closure.

Failing schools are not allowed to stay open forever. Florida law gives school districts five options.

Section 1008.33, Florida Statutes, states—
(4)(a) The state board shall apply the most intense intervention and support strategies to schools earning a grade of “F.” In the first full school year after a school initially earns a grade of “F,” the school district must implement intervention and support strategies prescribed in rule under paragraph (3)(c), select a turnaround option from those provided in subparagraphs (b)1.-5., and submit a plan for implementing the turnaround option to the department for approval by the state board. Upon approval by the state board, the turnaround option must be implemented in the following school year.

(b) The turnaround options available to a school district to address a school that earns a grade of “F” are:
1. Convert the school to a district-managed turnaround school;
2. Reassign students to another school and monitor the progress of each reassigned student;
3. Close the school and reopen the school as one or more charter schools, each with a governing board that has a demonstrated record of effectiveness;
4. Contract with an outside entity that has a demonstrated record of effectiveness to operate the school; or
5. Implement a hybrid of turnaround options set forth in subparagraphs 1.-4. or other turnaround models that have a demonstrated record of effectiveness.

(c)by the school district and approved by the state board. Implementation of the turnaround option is no longer required if the school improves by at least one letter grade. A school earning a grade of “F” shall have a planning year followed by 2 full school years to implement the initial turnaround option selected

(5) A school that earns a grade of “D” for 3 consecutive years must implement the district-managed turnaround option pursuant to subparagraph (4)(b)1. The school district must submit an implementation plan to the department for approval by the state board.

(6) The state board shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section. The rules shall include timelines for submission of implementation plans, approval criteria for implementation plans, and timelines for implementing intervention and support strategies.

Last fall, the Florida Department of Education

• Based on 2013-14 school grades, 178 schools across 35 districts hold a turnaround status of “Planning,” meaning the districts are required to plan for turnaround while receiving DA support and interventions, pursuant to Rule 6A-1.099811, Florida Administrative Code.

o Nine schools are beginning the first year of planning due to the grade being received during the December 2014 release.
o 145 schools are beginning the second year of planning due to hold harmless.
o 24 schools are beginning the third year of planning. These schools completed a second year of planning in 2014-15 because they improved from an F to a D in 2013-14, and were subject to the old state board rule which allowed for a second planning year in this case. They now receive a third planning year due to hold harmless.

• Based on 2013-14 school grades, 83 schools across 20 districts did not improve the school grade and are required to implement their State
Board-approved turnaround plan.

o Three schools are beginning the first year of implementation due to the grade received during the December 2014 release. They are not covered by the hold harmless provision. The district plans for these schools are enclosed for State Board approval.
o 56 schools are beginning the second year of implementation, pursuant to Rule 6A-1.099811, F.A.C.

o 24 schools are beginning the third year of implementation. Due to hold harmless, districts are not required to submit a new turnaround option or request additional time for implementation in these schools.

Planning Year 2 – Three of 145 schools in the state at this stage
NAVY POINT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
MYRTLE GROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
ESCAMBIA VIRTUAL INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

Planning Year 3 – One of 24 schools in the state at this stage
WARRINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL

Implementing Year 2 – Two of 56 schools in the state at this stage
WARRINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
WEST PENSACOLA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

This summer:

WARRINGTON ELEMENTARY dropped to an F.
WARRINGTON MIDDLE stayed a D.
WEST PENSACOLA ELEMENTARY dropped to a D.

These schools will remain under state scrutiny.

NAVY POINT and MYRTLE GROVE stayed a C –two years ago they were F schools. Escambia Virtual is now a B school. It appears they have successfully turned around.

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