Category 4 storm didn’t stop Keys schools from earning A’s from the state

Despite a difficult year after Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys schools earned an A rating in the state’s grading system for the first time since 2015.

Eighty-one percent of the Monroe County School District’s schools received either an A or B, topping the statewide average of 56 percent. Schools that are in the hardest-hit areas of Big Pine Key and Marathon earned A’s.

“We still have students and staff who are not living in their own homes,” said John Dick, a veteran school board member. “This is a testament to the school staff and the resilience of the community.”

As a result of the individual school grades, the district earned a district grade of A, returning to that status for the first time since 2015.

A C was the lowest grade of any school in the district. Those were earned by Ocean Studies Charter in Tavernier, which dropped from an A in 2017, and Gerald Adams Elementary in Key West, which earned a B the prior year.

Coral Shores High School in Tavernier, Key West High School and Stanley Switlik Elementary in Marathon all upped their grades from a B to an A.

Also earning an A once again were Sugarloaf School, Plantation Key School, May Sands Montessori Charter School, Treasure Village Montessori School, Big Pine Academy and Sigsbee Charter School.

Receiving a B were Marathon Middle High School, Horace O’Bryant School in Key West, Key Largo School and Poinciana Elementary in Key West. Key West Collegiate Academy, a charter high school, received an incomplete.

“The overall improvements across the board reflect a collaborative effort to ensure our students were able to confidently complete these assessments, despite the difficult year it has been,” Superintendent Mark Porter said.

The state Department of Education’s school grading system measures achievement, learning gains, and maintenance of the school’s focus on students who need the most support. Key Largo School was less than one percentage point away from receiving an A.

Across the state, 20 districts got A’s, while 33 earned a B rating.