CRESTVIEW — Laurel Hill School Principal Susan Lowery-Sexton said she’s dismayed after learning the K-12 school earned a C letter grade.
Lowery-Sexton said she received a phone call from Okaloosa County School Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, informing her of the grade, which the Florida Department of Education announced last week.
All Crestview and Baker traditional schools earned A’s. The grades are preliminary because schools may appeal them. However, Emerald Coast Career Institute North in Crestview, an alternative school, was ranked as declining.
"It’s difficult to accept the news of LHS receiving a grade of C using the state accountability system," Lowery-Sexton said in a statement. Last year, the school was just shy of a letter A grade, but the grade was dropped to a B. She explained it was due to criteria for at-risk students’ reading skills.
Laurel Hill School was the lowest scoring school in the county. With the exception of Laurel Hill, all other schools in the county’s north part — including Baker School, Crestview High School and Walker Elementary — were listed as A schools.
The school’s size also should be considered, Lowery-Sexton said. There is a "statistical dilemma" when an average of just 27 students annually graduate from Laurel Hill School.
Lowery-Sexton said she will consult with Jackson and school district staff and work toward a better grade.
"We will use this year's grade as a centering force to close the ‘rigor-gap’ we've experienced this year," Lowery-Sexton said.