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Historic Achievement: No 'F' Graded Schools In Miami-Dade County

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is celebrating an historic achievement in performance grades released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education.

There weren't any schools in Miami-Dade County that received an 'F' performance grade for the very first time.

In 2016, there were 7 schools with a failing grade, 16 schools in 2015 and 26 schools in 1999, the first year the state assigned letter grades to schools.

"Second only to the day I became superintendent, this is my proudest moment," said Superintendent Carvalho at a press conference announcing the results. "Nothing beats being able to say that failure has been eliminated in Miami-Dade."

Overall, the district earned a B average with two-thirds of all schools getting an A or B.

Broward County Public Schools saw broad gains as well, receiving a B overall.

Superintendent Robert Runcie credited a concerted effort, including more than 40,000 volunteers in the schools.

"It takes an entire village to assure the success of our children and Broward County has a great village, a great family," Runcie said.

"We increased the number of A grades in Broward County from 41 last year to 59 this year," Runcie noted.

Broward's number of failing schools fell from ten in 2016 to just two this year.

Three charter schools in Broward, however, received failing grades, as did two charters in Miami-Dade which aren't managed by the school district.

Carvalho found the failing charters, privately owned but publicly funded, noteworthy.

"We were able to lift dramatically the performance of our most fragile schools under control of this school system, while some of the fragile schools in the charter school environment continue to underperform," said Carvalho.

Teachers said the failing charters should send a signal to Tallahassee to stop pouring public money into for-profit school operations.

"Imagine what we could do if we had support from the state legislature, if we had a budget we could work with, if we had the resources that our classrooms really need," said Carla Hernandez-Mats president of United Teachers Of Dade.

The Florida Department of Education calculates school grades annually based on up to 11 components, including student achievement and learning gains on statewide, standardized assessments and high school graduation rate. School grades provide parents and the general public an easily understandable way to measure the performance of a school and understand how well each school is serving its students.

In addition to school grades, the department also calculates district grades annually based on the same criteria. Statewide, eight school districts improved their district grade from a "B" in 2015-16 to an "A" in 2016-17, and 10 school districts improved their district grade from a "C" in 2015-16 to a "B" in 2016-17. Forty-eight of Florida's 67 school districts are now graded "A" or "B," up from 38 in 2015-16. Additionally, 50 of Florida's school districts have no "F" graded schools in 2016-17.

Governor Rick Scott released this statement.

"When I was growing up, I had access to a great public education which helped me achieve my goals and build a great career. Every student in Florida deserves the same opportunity. Floridians should be proud of the continuous improvement of our K-12 schools. I am thankful for the dedicated teachers, students and parents who work every day to advance education in our schools."

Statewide highlights:

The percentage of schools earning an "A" or "B" increased to 57 percent (1,834 schools), up from 46 percent (1,531 schools) in 2015-16.

Elementary schools saw the largest percentage point increase in "A" schools, with 30 percent (542 schools) of elementary schools earning an "A" in 2016-17, up from 21 percent (386 schools) in 2015-16.

A total of 1,589 schools maintained an "A" grade (660 schools) or increased their grade (929 schools) in 2016-17.

The number of "F" schools decreased by more than half (61 percent), dropping from 111 schools in 2015-16 to 43 schools in 2016-17.

Low-Performing Schools

79 percent of schools that earned an "F" in 2015-16 improved by at least one letter grade in 2016-17.

71 percent of schools that earned a "D" or "F" in 2015-16 improved by at least one letter grade in 2016-17.

71 percent of the low-performing schools for which turnaround plans were presented before the State Board of Education in July 2016 improved to a C or greater.

Click here for more information about school grades.

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