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District maintains C rating

Tribune Staff

Published:   |   Updated: July 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

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The Hernando County School District received a C rating for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary reports released by the state Department Of Education.

Most districts maintained their ratings from 2013 and more than 30 of 67 school districts received a C rating, according to Department Of Education reports.

In Hernando, Eastside Elementary School rose from an F — the first district school to receive such designation from the state — to a C.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” said Eastside Principal Mary LeDoux, who transferred to Eastside last year. “If you look at the report, with the points we earned, we got to within five points of a B. We really earned a great deal of improvement points.”

However, LeDoux said, there still is work to do, as the school performed poorly in science.

Also in Hernando, Fox Chapel Middle School improved from a D to C.

Thanks to the improvements at Eastside and Fox Chapel, the school district will not have to add one hour to their school days next year, which can save the district about $1.2 million, according to a news release from the district.

Among Tampa Bay area districts, Hillsborough and Citrus showed improvement over last year, scoring a B and an A, respectively.

Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties each earned a C to maintain last year’s score, while Sarasota County maintained its A rating and Sumter kept a B.

Hernando was an A district in 2010 and dropped to a B the following year, statistics show.

According to the state’s reports, seven schools in the county dropped one letter grade last year, while eight remained the same.

Hernando schools that received a D for last year include Pine Grove, Spring Hill and Westside elementary schools and D.S. Parrott Middle School.

“As a district, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us in planning to more effectively align instruction to new standards and assessments,” schools Superintendent Lori Romano states in a news release.

“We will achieve our goal of becoming an A-rated school district of excellence with continued hard work and an aligned focus on teaching and learning.”

The district’s D-rated schools will receive extra supplemental support from the district, and a team from the state Department of Education’s Bureau of School Improvement will conduct regular data and instructional reviews, the news release states.

Last year, Eastside Elementary benefited from support instructors from the Department of Education, including math, science, reading and writing coaches who came to the school multiple times a week.

“Everybody’s asked what was the one thing that made the difference, but it was more than one thing,” said LeDoux. “We did a lot of data chats with kids, and the students really owned their data. It’s exciting when they understand what they need to do to get better.

“The kids did everything we asked them to do. They came in early for tutoring and stayed late. Now we can tell them that this is what we can show for our efforts.”

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