St. Lucie West, Tradition schools make grade

With the exception of one, schools in St. Lucie West and Tradition held their own this last school year, maintaining their school grades. Each of the eight public schools achieved an “A” or “B” grade.

“We had another very strong year,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jon R. Prince. Over the last four years, St. Lucie Public Schools has increased its grade 96 points and is now only seven points away from an “A” grade.

“That is our goal,” Dr. Prince said of rising to an “A” next school year, adding that after increasing 96 points, “seven doesn’t seem to be that many.”

School grades are determined by the Florida Department of Education, using a rubric of 11 components. Those components include student achievement, learning gains and standardized assessments.

“School grades provide parents and the general public an easily understandable way to measure the performance of a school and understand how well each school is serving its students,” the Florida Department of Education said in a prepared statement about last week’s release of grades.

The following schools received a “B” grade, same as they had last year: Allapattah Flats K-8, Manatee Academy K-8, Renaissance Charter of St. Lucie and St. Lucie West Centennial High.

Somerset College Preparatory, St. Lucie West K-8 and West Gate K-8 all maintained their “A” grades.

Renaissance Charter School at Tradition, however, slipped a grade, dropping from an “A” last year to a “B” this year. The school had previously earned a “B” in 2017.

St. Lucie Public Schools is the second-highest rated district on the Treasure Coast, according to overall district grades. The district is a high-ranking “B” – within 1 percent of an “A”. There are no failing schools in the district, according to the school grades.

Looking ahead to the 2019-20 school year, Dr. Prince said the district will be focused again on increasing the graduation rate, which was 92 percent this last school year. Over the last four years, the graduation rate has increased 18 percent.

Dr. Prince said the district would also be focused on improving fourth- and fifth-grade math success.

“We have unpacked where we need to make improvements,” he said, adding that teachers and principals will be receiving additional training to further that goal.

Nearly 70 percent of the schools within the district have an “A” or “B” grade.

“We’ve never had stronger schools,” Dr. Prince said. “We’re very pleased with where we’re at.”

St. Lucie Public Schools will also increase its emotional and social support for students with a new curriculum this fall to help address toxic stress – profound stress that impacts growth and development.

Dr. Prince said students are dealing with stressors older generations didn’t face, such as social media and cyber bullying.

With increased funding from the state, as well as from local voters who approved the millage referendum earlier this year, the district is able to provide more mental health services and counseling.

For more information about school grades, visit School Grades at http://fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/.

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