If your children brought home grade cards like most Hernando County public schools received Tuesday, you'd be shelling out lots of $5 bills and going out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate.
On Tuesday, the state released its grade card for public schools across Florida. For the first time in the 10-year history of the state's A Plus Plan, Hernando County schools earned an overall "A" grade - up from a "B" the previous four years.
From the teachers to the school principals to the district administration to Superintendent Wayne Alexander, we say: Bravo! You deserve to celebrate.
While it can be argued that the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) may not be the best method of gauging student knowledge or, for that matter, teaching youngsters, there's no argument that Hernando County schools and their students are mastering this demanding and nerve-wracking test.
Still, it should be noted that Hernando County schools have a long history of doing well on the FCAT. Seven of the school district's 20 schools - Brooksville Elementary, John D. Floyd Elementary, Pine Grove Elementary, Chocachatti Elementary, West Hernando Middle, Challenger K-8 and Gulf Coast Academy - have posted "A" grades the past three years running. Four have earned that distinction the past four years.
The school district has worked hard to achieve this "A" rating and all concerned deserve our praise, admiration and thanks for a job well done.
Also noteworthy is the administration's commitment to improving the two schools that didn't do so well this and previous years. Hernando and Central high schools received "D's" this year. Central High dropped from three straight years of "C's." Hernando High students consistently have scored poorly on the FCAT, receiving a "D" grade the past four years. The entire administration team at the school has been changed for next year, and the new team is already designing ways to improve the culture of learning.
Recognizing your weaknesses and doing what it takes to improve them are further signs that the school district is headed in the right direction.
The 11 other schools in the district received "B" grades - most noteworthy of which was Springstead High School, jumping from a "D" to a "B."
Again, we say: Great job, and keep up the good work.
Overall, Hernando County public schools are top-rated compared to any across the state.
With an "A" on the grade card, nobody can argue with that - and that's just one more reason why Hernando County is a great place to live and raise a family.