Okaloosa County School District

Clipart by Scout

Education officials across Florida are digging into the details of their school and district grades for the 2017-18 school year to see where they can make improvements when classes resume this fall.

The Florida Department of Education released the grades on June 27.

Florida now has more than 1,000 “A” schools (1,027 schools) up from 987 in 2017 and 763 in 2016. The percentage of schools earning an "A" increased to 32 percent, up from 30 percent in 2016-17.

Classes resume this week and next in public schools across Florida’s western Panhandle, with the usual challenges that a new school year brings the districts. In the first of our three-part series “Back to School,” Dave Dunwoody spoke with Okaloosa County Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.

It’s a busy start to the new term. The biggest challenges, says Jackson, are getting rid of 160 portable classrooms on campuses; and 770 more students than in 2016-17 and growing at the rate of 100 per day. That brings the district’s total student population to more than 31,000.  

  The race for School Superintendent in Okaloosa County will be decided on primary day this year. Earlier this year, the Okaloosa County School District was one of only three districts in the state with an “A” grade. There are two candidates vying to lead the district for the next four years. One is current Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, who is seeking a second term after defeating Alexis Tibbits in 2012. She says voters should judge her on her actions not her words. "In the last four years we've moved academically from number 11 to number 2 in the state.

Photo via Flickr// Allan Chatto / https://flic.kr/p/9PBUZ3

High School graduation rates in Florida for the class of 2015 were the highest in 12 years, according to figures released by the state Department of Education.

That 77.8% statewide graduation mark is up more than 18 points since the 2003-04 school year, and nearly two percent higher than last year. The Escambia County district's 2014-15 graduation rate came in at 72.7%, up from 66.1% in 2013-14, and 15 points from 2010-11.