School may be out for summer, but the school grades are in as the Department of Education recently released its data and both Springview Elementary School and Miami Springs Elementary School fared very well.
Schools are each assigned a school grade based primarily upon student achievement data from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0, also known as the FCAT 2.0. School grades communicate to the public how well a school is performing relative to state standards. The assessment-based components of all school grades are calculated based on student achievement in reading, math, writing and science, annual learning gains for each student, as well as the progress of the lowest quartile of students.
Springview Elementary School earned the much-sought-after “A” grade. The exciting news for Springview is their “A” is based on 642 points, which is 36 points above last year’s “A.” Springview showed gains for the lowest quartile, 77 percent of the students in Grades 3-5 achieved satisfactory of higher in reading, and 81 percent of the students in Grades 3-5 achieved satisfactory or higher in math. All these factors earned them exactly what they were striving for.
“Although Springview always performs well, I think 642 may be the highest the school has ever scored,” said proud Springview Principal Catalina Flor. “We achieved this success by working cooperatively. The school is departmentalized, affording teachers the opportunity to teach the subject in which they are strongest. This year, the teachers became even more skilled in analyzing their data and using it to drive instruction. The teachers implemented differentiated instruction to teach (and re-teach if necessary) for mastery. The administration conducted Data Chats with the teachers, and the teachers, in turn, with the students, enabling the students to develop ownership of their work and scores.”
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The topic of statewide testing evokes quite a debate and has stirred many heated conversations. Schools are tasked with providing an environment that is both loving and academically rigorous. The local elementary schools in Miami Springs seem to have found the delicate balance of embracing the uniqueness of each child and the melting pot of different learning styles while at the same time supporting teachers and holding them to a high standard, all the while pursuing the high academic expectations for their school.
“Springview Elementary embodies all that is great about living in the Springs. As the parent of a fourth-grader and a second-grader and active member of the PTA, I have had the pleasure to interact with many members of the Springview community. The teachers and staff strive for academic excellence while also helping our children to become confident, happy and caring members of our community,” said Springview PTA President Marilyn Gonzalez. “The PTA boasts an active roster of parents, teachers, staff and community members that work tirelessly to ensure that our children have a memorable elementary school experience and assist in providing resources they need to continue to succeed.”
Miami Springs Elementary School did well, earning a high “B” grade. Miami Springs missed the “A” by a mere 10 points.
“The professionalism of the staff and the involvement of the parents and community (contribute) to our gains. Also, interventions for reading and mathematics ensured student learning gains,” said Miami Springs Elementary School Principal Sally Hutchings. “Ongoing field trips, in-school activities and programs added to the success of the year. I must give out many thanks to a very involved PTA. They are a group of positive individuals that helped us recognize student achievement.”
Miami Springs Elementary will have an additional academic perk that is new to their school this fall, when they begin to offer the prestigious Cambridge Program for selected students in grade K through 3.
“I attended MSE and my mother attended MSE. When I was deciding what school to put my daughter Briana in, I went and met with several principals at both public and private schools. Just walking into Miami Springs Elementary brought back a feeling of home,” said MSE PTA President Barbra Marr, whose daughter is now entering second grade. “When I met Mrs. Hutchings, I felt like she was a principal who cared very deeply for the children, just like Dr. Margot Silverman, who was the principal when I attended. I have been very pleased with Briana’s teachers. She has thrived with the caring and knowledgeable teachers she has had and I look forward to continued success.”
Parents should also know that students will not take the FCAT this upcoming school year. “The new assessment will measure each child’s progress and achievement on the Florida Standards, which were developed with an unprecedented amount of public input,” Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said in a recent press release. “This assessment supports our new standards, which emphasize flexibility for teachers to make their own decisions in classrooms while preparing our students to analyze and think.”
If you’d like to learn more specifics about school grades or about future assessments, visit the Florida Department of Education’s website at http://www.fldoe.org.