FCAT scores in math and reading were released earlier Monday and the kids with the best scores live in Okaloosa County. District administrators there praise passionate teachers and a system of pairing talented educators with struggling students.
Another factor in the success of Okaloosa County has less to do with teachers and more to do with how students spend their summer breaks.
In Okaloosa County three out of four 10th graders passed the FCAT reading test, making the county the best in the state. 84 percent of the districts 8th graders passed math.
Guyla Hendrick, the chief officer of quality assurance with the district, credits a focus on putting the right teachers in the right classes. “Some of our AP teachers are actually teaching some of our students in greater need in those subject areas.”
While Okaloosa is celebrating its successes, scores statewide were flat. And while it’s too late to improve these FCAT scores, it’s not too late to stop the summer slide which is the period between now and the start of next school year where many students stop learning and some actually forget things they already know.”
Okaloosa suggests summer reading to parents and posts math problems online. First lady Ann Scott released a list of books to encourage Florida students to read this summer. “It definitely keeps kids from getting the summer slide.”
Caleb Mackey is stopping the summer slide with hands on learning. Monday the second grader visited the Tallahassee Museum with his family. “I learned how it’s like, how the pioneers used to live back then, and how small their houses was.”
But outside of summer school much of what a student learns over the next three months will depend on the parents. If students stay engaged educators says it will be reflected in next year’s FCAT scores.
The way the FCAT results are evaluated is changing and this year’s results come as the Department of Education is transitioning. The department says the changing system is largely to blame for there being no statewide gains this year.
For County by County local F-CAT scores: