The FCAT isn't a bad word in the halls of Waller Elementary, at least not anymore.
Principal Patti Fowler explains the struggle.
"First of all, we really hated that we had been marked as a D school, everyone just put all of their energies to coming up with some strategies that would be very effective with all of the children," says Fowler.
Chancellor Jim Warford visited Waller Monday morning to officially announce the results of the state FCAT scores, and like Waller, he says schools around the state are reaching out and more kids are passing the test.
"What we're doing is working, the number of low performing students in the state, struggling students is decreasing," says Warford.
Third grader Christina Hancock was one of those students struggling to read at grade level. With a teacher's help, she's now reading at grade level and actually likes reading books.
"I had to listen well and Ms. Johnson. She taught me a lot of stuff and I didn't understand it at first, but now that I'm in her class, I understand stuff," says Christina.
Fourth grader Chase Mercer struggled with the writing portion, while excelling in math. Last summer he attended an intensive writing workshop before he could move on to the next grade. It worked and he too is writing at grade level.
Principal Fowler is proud of her students.
"We highlighted Christina and Chase because they exemplified what we've done here at Waller, we took children who were struggling, we gave them everything that we had. We motivated the children and they came out on top," says Fowler.
Chancellor Walford wears a lapel pin everyday that says “no excuses.” He says he'll it each day to ensure everything is being done to provide quality education like the students at Waller Elementary every day of the year.