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The Florida Department of Education released letter grades for each of the state’s 67 school districts on Wednesday, and Santa Rosa County showed the biggest improvement locally, moving from a “B” to an “A” for 2017.

“Santa Rosa District Schools continually strives for improvement,” said Santa Rosa Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. “I am excited to see our schools do so well. An ‘A’ letter grade reflects the hard work done by teachers, administrators, parents and most certainly our students.”

Okaloosa County maintained the “A” grade it’s held since 2014, while Escambia County earned a “C” for the second year in a row.

Statewide, the number of individual schools earning either an “A” or “B” grade increased by 11 percent to 57 percent. The number of “F” schools in Florida decreased by more than half, to just 43 schools statewide.

“When I was growing up, I had access to a great public education which helped me achieve my goals and build a great career,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “Every student in Florida deserves the same opportunity. Floridians should be proud of the continuous improvement of our K-12 schools. I am thankful for the dedicated teachers, students and parents who work every day to advance education in our schools.”

“I am incredibly proud of our state’s students, parents, teachers and leaders for their hard work, which led to these exceptional outcomes,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “Today’s announcement is further evidence that Florida’s accountability system is integral to ensuring all students have access to the high-quality education they deserve. It is particularly important in identifying low-performing schools that need additional assistance to help their students reach their full potential. I am proud that more than two-thirds of the schools that were being monitored through the school improvement program improved to a C or better.”

It’s not all bad news for Escambia County. The district is down from five “F” schools last year to just two in 2017: Warrington Elementary and Myrtle Grove Elementary. This is Warrington’s second year with an “F” grade, while Myrtle Grove fell from the “C” it earned last year. Four elementary schools — Montclair, Oakcrest, C.A. Weis, and Lincoln Park — improved from an “F” last year, with the biggest gains taking place at Lincoln Park, which jumped from an “F” school in 2016 to a “B” school this year.

Nine Escambia County schools earned an “A” grade: Blue Angels, Bratt, Cordova Park, Molino Park, N.B. Cook, Pensacola Beach, and R.C. Lipscomb elementary schools, Brown Barge Middle School, and the West Florida High School of Advanced Technology.

“We still have two schools that have failing grades and that’s two too many,” said Deputy Escambia Superintendent Norm Ross. “When you look at the 12 schools that saw improvements, we’re somewhat pleased, but we’re not where we want to be. Our staff has been working diligently on action plans. The needle is moving in the right direction and we’ll continue to work hard to improve.”

In Santa Rosa, all but three of the district’s 27 schools earned an “A” or “B” grade. Central School, East Milton Elementary, and Bagdad Elementary each earned a “C” grade.

“The support and accountability we have from our school board, parents and community and business members is an encouraging attribute helping us to produce great results,” said Wyrosdick. “We will set the bar little higher for next year and begin working.”

In Okaloosa, all but two schools earned an “A” or “B” with Longwood Elementary School and the Laurel Hill School each earning a “C” grade.

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