CLAY COUNTY – The School District has notched an A grade, with about 85% of schools hitting A or B grades for the 2021-2022 school year, with some subject test scores being ranked in the Top-5 in …
CLAY COUNTY – The School District has notched an A grade, with about 85% of schools hitting A or B grades for the 2021-2022 school year, with some subject test scores being ranked in the Top-5 in the state.
Excluding 2021, where reporting was optional and was declined by 56 of the states 67 districts, Clay County has had seven A rankings and four B rankings since 2010. The A grade from 2021-2022 school year maintains the A grades from the school years beginning in 2019 and 2018.
Grades, their reporting and their release have been marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Superintendent David Broskie.
“We are so excited about our A ranking,” Broskie said. “That shows the strength and resiliency of Clay County District Schools.”
The state doesn’t have overall rankings of districts listed on its website or from various spreadsheets documenting scores. However, numerous reputable academic websites list Clay within the Top-10 districts in the state.
The county is one of 14 districts to achieve the A ranking last school year. The district also did not have D or F school. The district had 11 schools drop a grade level from their 2019 scores, most from A to B.
Two schools, Plantation Oaks Elementary and Lake Asbury Elementary increased from a B to an A, with Montclair Elementary jumping from a C to a B. After consecutive D grades in 2018 and in 2019, Charles E. Bennett Elementary achieved a C grade for the second year in a row.
Overall, the district posted 18 A grades, 17 B grades and six Cs.
“The district’s grade is calculated as if the district’s students are enrolled in one large combination school,” according to the state Department of Education. “All students who are full-year enrolled in the district will be included in the district’s grade.”
The principal of one of those A schools, Lake Asbury Elementary’s Tiffany Outman, said she was thrilled about rising from a B to A grade. Outman spent six years at the school as a teacher. Now she’s entering her sixth year as principal.
“Its been a very long road,” Outman said. “To earn an A is a huge accomplishment for teachers and scholars.”
As schools returned to face-to-face instruction, Outman said there was an acknowledgment that students had to reach a high standard in the classroom after being exposed to at-home virtual schooling for so long.
The school posted a C grade in 2017 and consecutive B grades for the next two years.
“We focused on how the students worked and their stamina, their strengths and weaknesses. The teachers worked tirelessly to get students where they are and show that process. Teachers were learning from each other using the (districts) professional learning community,” Outman said. “Students were out for so long.”
Test scores and the district’s 93% graduation rate play a factor in the district’s A grade. Clay did well for individual subjects compared to fellow districts, with the third-highest achievement in science behind St. Johns and Nassau counties. The county placed fifth in social studies achievement, and its graduation rate was tied for fifth-highest in the state.
“We feel like our schools are back to normal and these scores reflect the result of returning to a normal education environment,” Broskie said.
Broskie said the district will continue to evolve with its professional learning and academic expectations for all involved in the process as the organization pivots to the 2022-2023 school year when students return on Aug. 10.
“Were dedicated to providing a high-quality, world-class education for students and were continuing work to improve experiences for all learners,” Broskie said.