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Beach School

07/26/2013 at 5:38pm

Fort Myers Beach ElemtaryBeach School Regains "A” Rating

The State released 2012-13 school grades on Friday, July 26, 2013 and one of the big winners was Fort Myers Beach Elementary School, jumping from a "C” grade in 2011-12 to a solid "A” grade for this past school year.

With 98% of students tested, the school’s score came in at 569, well above the "A” cut-off of 525. Scoring solid gains in the numbers of children who scored satisfactorily in reading and math, the grade received an substantial assist from the numbers of students who improved their scores.

Beach School Principal Larry Wood was ecstatic when we spoke with him on Friday afternoon.

"This is wonderful! I’m so proud of our children! It wasn’t only the kids that passed, but all the children who showed growth on the tests that helped us earn an ‘A’. All the initiatives and all the things we’ve all done made this happen!”

Beach Elementary had earned "A” grades each year since 2005 until dropping to a "B” grade in 2011, then a "C” grade in 2012.School staff, parents, students and community members all contributed to the effort to improve students’ performance on the FCAT tests that determine school grades. There were before and after school initiatives proposed and students worked on extra projects to improve their knowledge in the core testing areas of reading, math, science and writing.

The changing standards for FCAT scoring made the effort a challenge for everyone.

"The standards have changed each year,” said Wood. "yet our children came through. I’m so proud of our students and our staff and our community. They made a huge difference in our success. They stood behind us each year regardless of our score. That support is priceless!”

Five Lee County schools improved their grades, but only Beach Elementary improved two letter grades according to the State Department of Education report.Other schools improving a letter grade were Bonita Springs Middle School, Gateway Elementary, Bayshore Elementary and Tice Elementary.

The Lee County District School Superintendent Nancy Graham commented on the scores.

I am pleased that in a system that continues to raise the bar, 37% of our schools earned an A, which is 8% higher than the state’s average. In addition, five of our schools improved their letter grade and 41 maintained their grade in spite of more rigorous standards. I realize, however, all of us must continue to focus on the student gains report because it is those gains that provide the most important data related to improving student achievement. The School District of Lee County believes none of us can claim full success until all of us experience it because we know we are in this together.”

Lee County Schools had 29 schools score an "A”; 15 schools a "B”; 25 schools a "C”; 7 schools a "D” and 3 schools an "F”.

Statewide there was a general downward trend noted with 482 fewer schools scoring an "A” this year than last. The bottom of the scoring chart grew with 207 more Florida schools scoring a "D” or "F” this year than last.

Those numbers make the two grade leap of Beach Elementary that much more remarkable. Principal Wood did not hesitate to recognize how the school managed the feat.

"Staff supported us; parents supported us; the community supported us. It was a total community team effort and I’m so proud of everybody!”

Classes start at Beach Elementary on Thursday, August 8, 2013. There is an Open House for all returning students scheduled for Saturday, August 3 from 9-10:30am with a free pool day from 10:30am-12:30pm at the Beach Pool.Staff returns to school on Thursday, August 1. There might be a little celebrating done that day.

Missy Layfield