Early Tuesday morning, the Florida Department of Education released grades for elementary and middle schools across the state. Those grades are tied directly to the FCAT and Bay District officials say their grades, were disappointing but expected.
"We knew that this wasn't going to be a good day," said Bay District Schools Superintendent, Bill Husfelt.
The scores show 15 schools in Bay County dropped a full letter grade and where Bay County had 17 "A" schools last year, it only has 11 this year.
"This is a systemic problem and it is directly related to the change in the FCAT and the change in the threshold score that's required by the new standards," Husfelt added.
School officials say it began with the FCAT writes exam when low scores shocked the state.
Districts knew the standards and new grading system was going to be tougher, but how tough threw them off guard, resulting in low scores, which in turn resulted in low school grades.
"We knew that was going to happen, every one knew that was going to happen. Was it a wise decision to change what we were going to change? I didn't get a vote," Husfelt added.
"I think they tried to do too much too quickly," added Camilla Hudson, Bay District's Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability.
And that quick turnaround had its effects. Last year, the district only had one "D" school, but this year it has four.
"It deflates them. They are sad, they are disheartened, they've worked very hard," Hudson added.
For the first time in 10 years, Cedar Grove Elementary is now a "D" school, along with Oakland Terrace, Springfield and Oscar Patterson. All of them are Title One schools, meaning a high percentage of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
"We have a few more challenges that other folks but we don't let that be handicap for us. FCAT is one test and it's one measure, it's not a true picture of everything that goes on in a school and everything that is going here at Cedar Grove," said Cedar Grove Elementary Principal, Phillip Campbell.
"Even though a school might be a "D" that doesn't mean that they are a bad school or a terrible school, what the means is that on that one testing day those children weren't ready, now those children might not be ready the day before or the day after, but to take that one day and use it as the catch all is not fair to anybody," Husfelt added.
One school in Bay County did improve, that was Newpoint Bay Charter Middle School, which went from a "D" to a "C".
Click here to see the state's press release on the school grades and for a list of grades for schools in our area.