Polk County Public Schools

The Florida Department of Education released grades for individual schools and school districts last week and officials for Polk County Public Schools were pleased to see the district maintain its “B” grade for the 2018-19 school year.

“What a fantastic day for our school district,” Polk Schools Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd said in a statement July 11. “We are a district headed in the right direction, where academic achievement among our students is truly on the rise. This is a testament to the hard work of every student, employee, parent and supporter of PCPS. I am overjoyed and immensely proud of the progress we are making as a district.”

The grade marks consecutive “B” grades for Polk County Public Schools, which had been a “C” district for seven consecutive years before improving to a “B” in 2017-18.

Across the district, Byrd and staff were also pleased to announce that there were no “F”-rated schools in Polk last year and that the number of “A” schools increased from 23 to 26. “B” schools increased from 27 to 29, also, while the number of “C” schools declined from 68 to 48.

The one bit of bad news for the district was seeing the number of “D” schools increase from six to 21.

“While the increase in ‘D’ schools is disappointing, we are undaunted,” Byrd said. “Some of those schools that received a grade of ‘D’ were very close to a ‘C.’ We have already begun the process of developing academic support programs and strategizing how we can ensure they improve in the coming year.

“While we are celebrating our ‘B,’ we are also paying attention to the schools that need additional help,” she added.

Some noteworthy achievements by local schools included: Frostproof Middle-Senior High earning its first “B” since 2011; Eagle Lake’s Pinewood Elementary earned its first “B” since 2012; and Bartow High and Lake Alfred Elementary each earned “B” markings after three consecutive “C” grades.

Statewide, improvements were also a theme. Florida education officials touted a “monumental improvement” for the state, with public schools having earned more A and B grades than C, D and F grades during the 2018-19 school year.

Of Florida’s 67 school districts, 24 are now “A” districts and there were no districts with an overall grade of a “D” or an “F.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement that the data shows the state to be on a successful trajectory.

Individual grades for all schools in Florida, including all of those in Polk, are available at the Florida Department of Education’s website.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at sryzewski@d-r.media.

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