By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
Overall, Escambia County public schools improved academically from 2016-17 to 2017-18, but it was a slight improvement and not enough to get the schools from a C to a B.
The Alabama Department of Education released the school systems’ and individual schools’ grades Monday, December 31.
Three schools in Escambia County earned a grade of B, but those grades were not enough to pull the other seven schools up. In 2016-17, the system as a whole earned a 78, which is a C. This year, the system came up to 79, still a C, but only one point from a B.
Individual schools fared as follows:
* Escambia County High School, 70, C – ECHS showed a significant improvement over last year’s grade of 66, a D.
* Escambia County Middle School, 73, C – ECMS also showed a 4-point improvement coming up from 69, a D, last year.
* Flomaton Elementary School, 87, B – FES’ grade last year was 83, a B.
* Flomaton High School, 87, B – FHS showed the highest gain in the county, up from 81 last year.
* Huxford Elementary School, 82, B – HES dropped a point from 83 last year, but still a B.
* Pollard-McCall Junior High School, 79, C – PMJHS dropped from an 81 last year.
* Rachel Patterson Elementary School, 72, C – RPES was not graded last year due to a different testing system. Only third grade was tested for 2017-18.
* W.S. Neal Elementary School, 73, C – WSNES showed one of the biggest losses this year, going from 80 to 73.
* W.S. Neal Middle School, 77, C – WSNMS also showed a 7-point decrease in score, from 84 last year.
* W.S. Neal High School, 77, C – WSNHS picked up a point this year, having scored 76 last year.
Superintendent of Education John Knott said Monday, “Overall, I’m encouraged that some school went up a point. We’re seeing continuous growth in Atmore area schools. We’re excited to see Flomaton schools reach higher levels. There are areas that we have to address, areas that we can do better in.”
One of those areas is attendance, a problem statewide according to State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey.
” … schools continue to struggle with chronic absenteeism, an indicator that went in the wrong direction this year, with the number of students who missed 15 school days or more rising from 17 to 18 percent,” Mackey said.
A problem statewide – a problem in several county schools, according to Knott.
“Attendance is a major problem,” he said. “If the students aren’t in school, you can’t teach them. We’re going to focus heavily on attendance.
“We’ll continue to increase rigor and effective strategies to get all levels up.”
Scores in nearby counties were as follows:
Baldwin County – 85, B
Monroe County – 77, C
Conecuh County – 74, C
Mobile County –77, C
Covington County – 89, B
In next week’s Atmore News, we’ll look more closely at individual schools and the indicators used in determining scores.