Did Thomas write PNJ article?

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has objected to the latest FCAT scores like most of the other superintendents in the state, but after the state audited the grading process, the state DOE declared they would stand. Here are the final results:

Escambia County middle and elementary schools: 11 A’s, 11 B’s, 19 C’s, four D’s and one F

Santa Rosa: 15 A’s, four B’s and one C.

Thomas celebrated in the PNJ article Warrington Middle School’s C score. The newspaper called the school “Escambia district’s turnaround school”….Folks, its score last year was C.
There was no turnaround. The school only got 3 more points than 2009.

The big gain was last year, but Thomas gutted the staff and removed the principal. Last year, with the old staff, the school jumped for 411 to 455 and the school moved from being a D school to a C school.

As so often with Thomas, there is more hype —“ponies and balloons” —than reality, and the daily newspaper gives him a free pass.

Here are the actual scores from the Florida DOE website:

% Meeting High Standards in Reading
2010 43
2009 44

% Meeting High Standards in Math
2010 44
2009 34

% Meeting High Standards in Writing
2010 86
2009 84

% Meeting High Standards in Science
2010 21
2009 16

% Making Learning Gains in Reading
2010 56
2009 62

% Making Learning Gains in Math
2010 70
2009 64

% of Lowest 25% Making Learning Gains in Reading
2010 69
2009 77

% of Lowest 25% Making Learning Gains in Math
2010 69
2009 74

Points Earned (Sum of Previous 9 Columns)
2010 458/C
2009 455/C —-This is the turnaround
2008 411/D
2007 422/D

An honest, straightforward analysis of these scores would be there was no turnaround at Warrington Middle School. Did the daily newspaper ever look at the scores or did they just take Thomas’ word for it?

Last year Thomas announced a reorganization of Warrington Middle in April because it was on a state intervention list after consecutive D school grades (2008 and 2007), even though the 2009 scores hadn’t been received. The teachers had worked hard and when the actual 2009 scores came out the school had improved 44 points.

Warrington Middle truly turned around. However, there was no celebration in 2009. The principal, Christine Nixon, was transferred and many of the teachers were fired….which makes yesterday’s celebration in front of the News Journal so bizarre.

Teachers increase scores 44 points get fired; 3 points gets you cake and ice cream.

What did Thomas say when the 2009 test scores came out and showed the faculty had turned the school around: “We’re proud of their progress, but we can do better and we’re going to do better.”

Five points is better? Well, I guess three points is three points. To get those three points, Thomas rebuilt the faculty by hiring 58 new teachers and pumped $1.5 million of federal stimulus dollars into the school.

I celebrate the successes of our teachers, the students and their parents….but let’s not kid ourselves, Warrington Middle’s five point increase isn’t worthy of the headlines nor does it justify the upheaval the Administration put that school through last year.