Friday, May 18, 2012

Pasco Shines in Reading, With 100% of High Schools Showing Improvement

The District School Board of Pasco County is delighted to announce that every high school in Pasco County increased their percentage of students in both 9th and 10th grades that achieved proficiency in reading.   Additionally, the District exceeded the state average in both ninth and tenth grade reading, with 54% of ninth grade students achieving proficiency (a 6% increase) and 51% of tenth grade students achieving proficiency (a 13% increase). “This remarkable improvement is a reflection of the dedication of our entire team,” stated Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.  This accomplishment is particularly impressive considering the fact that the state increased the rigor of the assessment last year and increased the minimum score required to achieve proficiency this year.  “During this period of transition, we are extremely proud of the hard work that our teachers, students and administrators have put forth in order to secure these impressive gains.   Our students and staff continue to excel in the face of significant financial adversity and ever changing expectations.   This is a testament to their fortitude and unwavering commitment to excellence.”  Fiorentino added.

The District is especially proud of the following schools:  Pasco eSchool (79% proficiency in 9th grade and a 27 percentage point increase in 10th grade), Land O’ Lakes High School (69% proficiency in 9th grade and 70% proficiency in 10th grade).  Anclote High School showed the largest gains throughout the District in 9th grade, with a 14% gain.  In tenth grade, the percentage of proficiency increased at J.W. Mitchell High School by 24% and by 19% at Hudson High School. 

The District’s writing results were consistent with statewide trends, as students’ results reflected the difficulty of adapting to new state expectations within a compressed time period.  In Pasco, 77% of students in grade 4, 77% of students in grade 8 and 86% of students in grade 10 achieved proficiency in writing this year.  Pasco’s tenth grade students exceeded the state average in writing. 

The District recognizes that in addition to the more rigorous standards that were used by the state for this year in evaluating writing, the state has set increased performance expectations for next year.   The District has already begun implementing strategies to help teachers and students adapt to the new expectations.  Specifically, the District will provide systemic support over the coming year to ensure that students are able to demonstrate mastery of the writing process, including brainstorming, drafting and refining their work in order to clearly communicate their message using appropriate conventions.   Additionally, the District remains committed to working with the state to advocate for the additional time students need to display these skills on the assessment, as the current time of 45 minutes is not sufficient.