Walton County Schools Proud of FDOE School Assessment Grades - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Walton County Schools Proud of FDOE School Assessment Grades

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As Walton County students head back to school next week, Walton District Schools are reflecting on their performance based of the newly released grades from the Florida Department of Education.

Walton County is one of only two county districts in the News 13 viewing area that did not drop a letter grade.

They are proud to maintain their high performing status, but they say their focus is on student performance and educator effort.

"I like "A's" better, but we're with the increased achievement standards.  I'm fine with a B," said Walton County School Superintendent, Carlene Anderson.

For the second year in a row, the high performing district earned a "B" from the Florida Department of Education's accountability assessment.

"We embrace accountability in Walton County and we always use every year as a guideline as to where we map out our next strategy," said Anderson.

High school grades are still pending, but between the elementary and middle school grades in the county, it seems relatively split.

The four South Walton schools, Van R Butler Elementary, Emerald Coast Middle, Bay Elementary and Seaside Neighborhood School earned "A's."

Above the Bay, Freeport Middle earned a "B", while West Defuniak Elementary, Walton Middle, Maude Sanders Elementary and Freeport Elementary earned C's.

The question is whether there's a disconnect between the north and the south end.

Anderson said socioeconomic status is a factor.

"I think the disconnect comes in the population, the demographics of our population.  Obviously we have more free and reduced lunch students, which means somewhat, poverty, in the north end versus the south end," said Anderson.

One thing that remains steady across the County is parental involvement and concern.

Emerald Coast Middle School Principal, Charlie Marello said, as academic assessment and rigor becomes more challenging, it can alter school grades, but not necessarily individual student performance.

"It does get challenging, it does get frustrating at times.  Not only the challenges you have to achieve, but also the perception that maybe the public has when they see that, potentially a school has dropped a grade or students didn't do as well as they did last year," said Morello.

Meanwhile, Emerald Coast is proud of their "A" grade and as they transition their classrooms for next week, they are looking forward to the next school year.

"[We're] completely pleased, we'll celebrate, and then we'll get back to work again on August 8th," said Morello.

Walton is joined by Calhoun County as the only other district earning a "B" in our viewing area.