Sarasota Schools Score 'A,' Manatee Drops to 'C'



The Sarasota County Schools earned an A grade for the school district from the Florida Department of Education, keeping up a 12-year record of the district earning the top score. But Manatee County Schools saw the district score in the county drop from a B to a C, and plans to appeal parts of the assessment.

Even more important to Sarasota leaders than the district earning an A was that no individual schools in the county were graded with a D or an F. Emma E. Booker Elementary, which earned a D in 2015, pulled its grade up to a C this year. “We always try and do better each year,” says Scott Ferguson, communications specialist for the district. Sarasota and St. Johns County remain the only school districts in Florida to earn an A every year since the current grading system was instated in 2004. Of course, the school grades weren’t all great news, with Alta Vista Elementary, Glenallen Elementary and Sarasota Military Academy all seeing grades drop from As to Cs. 

Statewide, grades overall were lower this year than in 2015, with only three school districts earning an A. Only one school district, Gadsden County, saw its district grade go up.

Manatee County Schools saw its grade drop from a B in 2015 to a C this year, and did see some F schools including James Tillman Elementary Magnet, Sara Scott Harlee Middle, School of Academic and Behavioral Learning Excellence, Just for Girls Academy and Visible Mens Academy. But both Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary and Palmetto Elementary saw grades rise from Fs in 2015 to Ds this year, and Palm View Elementary pulled its grade from an F to a C.  

The biggest issue district officials take with Manatee’s score is what is not yet included. “Right now, the District has received a “C” grade—which includes an “Incomplete” given to both Bayshore and Manatee High Schools,” says Melissa Parker, communications specialist for the district, in a statement to SRQ. “The District is appealing those submissions, to the Florida Department of Education, which could change the overall outcome.”

Photo: Kindergarten graduation at Emma E. Booker Elementary on June 3.

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