When the state released school grades recently, 20 in Manatee County received an A, and for one school in Palmetto, that score signified a jump of three full grades.
Last August, Palm View Elementary School, which serves an economically disadvantaged student population, had just received its second consecutive D grade. That meant is was put into the turnaround process, the state’s school improvement system.
It was also targeted for extra support from the Manatee County School District.
Palm View principal Kaththea Johnson, says the path from a D to an A, required an “all hands on deck” effort from the staff, to teachers, parents and students.
"As a school, we built teams that looked at our data and tore it apart,” she said. “We were able to make goals, knowing our students, knowing their academic levels, responding to it and then just providing that support continuously throughout the year. "
Sixteen Manatee County Schools improved their grades this past school year and Palm View had the most notable improvement.
The Title I school has a 72 percent minority population and 21 percent are English language learners.
Johnson says when the school year started last August, a plan was put into action.
"And then we shared and reviewed our school goals with families and the community, and what we were working toward and the steps that we were going to take to make that happen,” she said. “Everybody knew that our goal was to come out of that "D" status."
Just two Manatee County District Schools received a D grade, down from six the previous school year. No school got an "F," but Manatee Virtual School received an "incomplete."
Palm View is now transitioning from an elementary campus to a K-8 school. That will happen in phases with the addition of 6th grade this August, when the new school year begins. Palm View will also be the first school in Florida to fully implement curriculum from WOZ Pathways, a tech education initiative created by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak.