OCSD

Okaloosa School District receives A+ rating from the state for 2021-2022 academic year

OCSD

On Thursday, July 7, 2022, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) released school grades for the 2021-2022 academic year, which show that schools statewide exceeded expectations.

  • The 2021-2022 school grades mark the first full school grade data release since 2019 due to the lack of assessments in the 2019-2020 school year and the opt-in nature of the 2020-2021 school grades.

Okaloosa received an overall grade of A, one of fourteen districts in the state to earn the highest rating.

Superintendent Marcus Chambers was made aware of the announcement during a school district budget workshop earlier Thursday afternoon. He then took a moment to notify the school board.

“This past year was arguably the most difficult year we’ve had in this school district,” said Chambers. “We know all the challenges that have taken place this year, but again, it is a complete testament to the work that’s happening at the school level with our teachers, support staff and administrators, the support that happens at the district level, and each of the five board members.”

Chambers says that it’s not about rankings, but about doing what is right for the students. However, he noted that coming off of a very tough year, this A+ ranking is his most favorite A+ ranking that the district has earned.

Statewide assessment results are a major component in the calculation of school grades. Middle and high schools also have an academic acceleration component for students who are successful in advanced classes or who earn industry certifications. High schools have a graduation rate component as well. 

School Grading Scale

  • A: 62% of points or greater
  • B: 54% to 61% of points
  • C: 41% to 53% of points
  • D: 32% to 40% of points
  • F: 31% of points or less

Individual school grades were posted today as well with the following results:

  • Seventeen (17) schools maintained their grade from the last time it was reported for the 2018-2019 school year
  • Eleven (11) schools fell one letter grade from either A to B or B to C
  • Five (5) schools fell two letter grades from A to C
  • Three (3) schools, Fort Walton Beach High School, Choctawhatchee High School, and Crestview High School received an “I” for incomplete. District staff is working with the Department of Education to resolve that issue.
  • No schools received a D or F

“The last two years have been unprecedented in public education.”

“We felt that coming through the last two years of COVID could definitely have an impact on student performance and school grades, particularly in the elementary level where 3rd grade students have only known going to school in an abnormal environment,” he said. “Four of the five schools that fell two letter grades were elementary schools. We are excited to see how quickly these schools rebound to their former performance levels.” 

While it is expected that high ranking districts such as Okaloosa outperform state averages, which it did in every tested category released last week, Superintendent Chambers highlighted a few areas in which he was particularly proud of student performance.

“We continue to do very well in Algebra I with 65% of our students proficient compared to the state average of 54% and in Geometry with 65% proficient compared to the state average of 50%,” he said. “In middle school Civics, 74% of students were proficient compared to the state average of 69%, and in US History, 73% were proficient compared to the state average of 65%. US History and Civics are a very important part of our curriculum, and we want to continue to excel in this area.”

Secondary science was also a strongpoint with Grade 8 science results showing 60% of students proficient compared to the state average of 45%. In Biology, which is tested in Grade 9, 69% of students were proficient compared to the state average of 61%.
 
Grade 7 and 8 Mathematics results showed 62% and 54% of students proficient, compared to state averages of 46% and 42%, respectively.

The district previously reported that Grade 3 proficiency had dropped from 63% to 58%. Grade 4 ELA had a 58% proficiency rate, one point above the state average of 57%.

  • “While celebrating the success achieved by our students as a whole, we will re-focus efforts in certain areas such as early elementary ELA and in schools where we did not see the results we anticipated,” added Chambers.

Those efforts began with an expanded Summer Intensive Studies program this year that served not only retained elementary students who were working to earn promotion to the next grade level but also any student having academic need.

At the middle and high school levels, students used the summer program to retake coursework that was not passed during the year and completed 2,345 semester courses in total which helped keep them on track for graduation.

Additional plans for the upcoming year include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Increased opportunities for one-on-one tutoring for students during and after the school day in the fall using specific student data to prescribe individualized learning opportunities.
  • Additional ELA and Math Coaches will be placed in schools to support teacher development to better impact student learning.
  • To increase the academic support for students with disabilities, elementary ESE teachers participated in a professional development institute learning explicit, systematic reading strategies.  These research-based strategies are proven to help young readers who have learning deficiencies such as dyslexia.  Secondary ESE teachers will be engaging in professional development to learn additional strategies to support the reading and math remediation of our middle and high school students.
  • Knowing mental wellness impacts the academic and social progress of students, the district has expanded mental health services available to all students with the addition of more school-based providers.  Parents/guardians who have concerns may contact their child’s school for more information regarding available services.

“We’ll continue to support our teachers, educational support professionals, and administrators by providing them with the tools they need to positively impact our children,” pledged Chambers.

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