D Grade: Why Did Northview Fall That Low?

June 26, 2009


How did Northview High School’s grade from the Florida Department of Education fall to a D? It is a question that many North Escambia residents have asked, and a question that Northview staff is asking.

Northview was a solid C-rated school from the 1999 to 2007. Then in the 2007-2008 school year, NHS jumped to a B rating, just a handful of points from being an A school. But for this past school year, Northview dropped all the way to that D.

NorthEscambia.com sat down with school officials to ask that question. We were not looking for excuses, and Northview’s administration made none. But we did learn that there is more to the lowest score in the school’s history than meets the eye.

nhsfront.jpg“We are not making excuses,” said Bobby Simpson, FCAT coordinator at Northview. “But we were penalized with the D. We really earned a C.”

The mathematical formula that the state uses to compute school grades includes a one-letter grade drop if half of the lowest 25% of students in the school fail to make learning gains.

At Northview, 58 percent of the lowest students did make learning gains in math. But in reading, only 34 percent of the lowest performing students made learning gains, slapping the school with the one letter grade penalty. (Click graphic to enlarge report.)

A student is defined as making a learning gain with an improvement in achievement level — for instance an increase in score from a 1 to 2 on the math FCAT; maintaining at level 3,4 or 5; or demonstrating more than one year’s growth within levels 1 or 2.

nhsschoolreport.jpg“That’s what happened to us,” Simpson said. “In that lower level, where you have some students that have problems, some did not make just enough gains so that we were not penalized.”

There are really good teens in that lower quartile, Simpson said. There are those that are below average and learning disabled students. Even former Northview students that may have been removed from the school and sent to an alternative school still count against the NHS score.

Compounding Northview’s problem, Simpson said, is “typical teenagers”. There are those that “Christmas tree” the test — filling in the multiple choice bubbles and then laying down on their desks to take a nap. And, he said, many students have problems focusing on school due to technology — cell phones, Internet, email, television and the list goes on.

Under a provision in the FCAT rules, a student that makes 15 or greater on the ACT is not required to pass the FCAT. So many of those students “Christmas tree” the test too, he said. Even home bound students in the Northview district count toward the school’s FCAT scores.

The problems are not Northview-specific, but tend to statistically impact the score at a smaller, rural school more than a large city school.

He pointed out that Ernest Ward Middle School, where most Northview students attended middle school, is and has been an A school. “These are the same students capable of performing on the FCAT. Some just lost that motivation when they got to high school.”

Simpson stressed again that he was not making excuses for Northview’s D. Rather, he said, he wanted NorthEscambia.com readers to understand that the school scored enough points for a strong C but received the letter grade penalty.

In fact, the school’s total point score used to determine the school grade was the third highest in school history at 469 — well within the 435-494 range for a C. Last year’s B score was earned with 519 points, and in the 2006-2007 school year, the school earned 481 points for a C.

hscompare-1.jpgOverall, Northview’s percentages of students meeting high gains in writing and math were higher than the other high schools in Escambia County, including Pensacola High School that has been ranked as one of the nation’s top schools by Newsweek. (Click graphic to see comparison.)

In writing, 90 percent of  Northview students met high standards in math, the highest percentage in Escambia County. In math, 77 percent of NHS students met standards, the second highest in the county.

“We know that we are not a D school,” Simpson said. “We are working on a plan, coming up with a plan to make sure we are not ranked as a D school next year.”

When NorthEscambia.com visited Northview earlier this week, a team was assembled to analyze school data and develop that plan.

“We will develop the plan, but we need parental backing and positive community support,” he said. “That is what is going to get us where we need to be.”

“I was very disappointed for the students and teachers,” Northview Principal Gayle Weaver said. “I know the grade was not a true indicator of how we did. But I think it made all of us realize that we can and will do better for next year.”

Every Child A Readers Honors Many, Including Century Group

June 25, 2009


Outstanding child care center teachers and community supporters were honored Wednesday by the Every Child a Reader in Escambia (ECARE) program, including a Century foundation.

The honors were presented at the first Appleseeds Awards and Recognition Ceremony.

The Teaspoon Foundation of Century, represented by Jack Moran, was honored at the program for their support and contributions as a community partner of ECARE. The Teaspoon Foundation was responsible for bringing the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Escambia County with plans to provide a free book every month for every child under five years old.

The goal of Appleseeds is to acknowledge the excellence of the childcare providers who are teaching our children at the most critical points of their lives: ages newborn – five years old. The goal of ECARE is that all children entering Kindergarten in the Escambia County School District in 2011 will be ready for Kindergarten as measured by then current standards. In turn, the students will test proficient on the reading portion of the FCAT in 2014.

It is proven that strong parenting and high-quality preschool programs lay a solid literacy foundation that helps children learn to read when they get to Kindergarten. This critical skill serves children far beyond elementary school. It also predicts high school graduation based upon a student’s early reading ability, according to ECARE Executive Director Clairen Reese.

Appleseeds is similar to the county school system’s K-12 Teacher of the Year Program. Every Child a Reader’s goal is to shine a light on the “best of the best” child care teachers which will, in turn, reinforce to these teachers how extremely important their work is; will help to recruit other potential child care teachers to the profession; and will share their fine work with the community, Reese said.

The Escambia County Child Care Teacher of the Year was Pamela Broughton of Malena’s Mini School I. Other finalists were Donna Hendrix of O.J. Semmes Elementary Head ecarebooks.jpgStart, Sharon Law of Jamison Street Preschool, Shannon Nolan of Malena’s Mini School II, Shirley McCants of McCants’ Family Home of Learning, Karen Radford of Blue Angel Early Learning Center, Michelle Smith of WEE Children’s Center – West Pensacola Baptist Church, Terri Odom of Cokesbury Children’s Center and Tammy Warren of Escambia County Head Start.

Other community partners honored at the program were The Studer Group, Barnes and Noble, Leadership Pensacola Class of 2007, Wal-Mart of Navy Boulevard, Wal-Mart of Creighton Road, Wal-Mart of Mobile Highway, Downtown Rotary, The Escambia – Santa Rosa Bar Association, Medline Industries, Bonefish Grill, Margaret Stopp, Diane Hutcherson and Bruce Caton.

Teaspoon Foundation

The Teaspoon Foundation invests in young people. The Teaspoon Foundation is involved in the investigation, locating, authenticating and preserving the artifacts, history, and heritage of Teaspoon as a Pre-Revolutionary period; facilitating and promoting cultural and heritage education in North Escambia County; and improving the quality of life in North Escambia County, especially the Century area.

The Teaspoon Foundation is involved with the Early Learning Coalition of Florida to put free books into the hands of children between the ages of zero and five through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They found a way to completely sponsor every single child in Century to have these free books delivered right to their doorstep until they start kindergarten.

The group is involved in the Teaspoon Heritage Society where Children’s Heritage Parties are held where the experiences of the elderly are told to children in a “pizza party setting” and video taped during the process. They also host The Imagination Library Reading Party – a monthly reading party where the children bring their favorite Imagination Library books to a party and volunteers read to them, while their parents watch and learn how to read to and engage children in the learning to read process.

Pictured top: Jack Moran (in the mult-colored shirt) stands in the background as guests sign in for ECARE’s official community kickoff in June 2008 at Heritage Hall in Pensacola. Photo courtesy ECARE. Picturd middle inset: The Teaspoon Foundation brought Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Escambia County. Pictured bottom inset: Some of the books that were offered by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

In-Depth Look: School Grades For Area Schools

June 21, 2009


Florida Department of Education school accountability grades were released last week, and the results were mixed for North Escambia area schools.

Bratt Elementary, Byrneville Elementary, Jim Allen Elementary, Ernest Ward Middle School, Ransom Middle and Jay High schools were all A-rated schools.
Molino Park slipped from an A to a B, as did Jay Elementary. Tate High improved from a C to B, while Northview High fell from a B to a D.

Carver/Century K-8 School, which closed at the end of the school year, received an F rating. Carver/Century was the only F-rated school in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties. There were only 47 F-rated schools in the entire state of Florida.

Pictured: The graphics above and below provide a more detailed look into the school accountability grades released last week by the Florida Department of Education.  NorthEscambia.com graphics.


Northview Food For American Program Number Two In Entire State

June 19, 2009


The Northview High FFA’s Food For America program has been named one of the top two programs in Florida.

ffafoodforamerica34.jpgThe local Food for America Program, sponsored the National FFA Organization and conducted by the Northview FFA in March, gave the students a chance to learn about agriculture firsthand as they got up close and personal with farm animals, farm equipment and more. About 800 elementary school students and 200 volunteers took part in the program.

The program is designed to encourage FFA members to participate in Agricultural Literacy and Awareness projects on the local level. The awards were announced during the Sixth General Session of the 81st Florida FFA State Convention in Orlando.

The Northview FFA has participated in the program for 14 years, placing second in the state two years ago. Northview has placed in the top five in the state for the last ten years.

Both the Northview and Ernest Ward FFA chapters attended the FFA state convention last week in Orlando. The chapters traveled together and were able to enjoy the convention and other planned activities as a group.

Individuals that attended from North Escambia were: Mark and Aimee Solari, Courtney Solari, Stephanie Solari, Allie Vidak, Brittany Thompson, Heather Kite, Lydia Weaver, Anna Donald, Cindy Wilson, Perry and Kay Byars, Andrea Byars, Shelby Lewis, Gavin Hinote, Micah Byars, Tyler Hester, Devon Bell and Nathan Waters.

For a photo gallery of the FFA students in Orlando, click here.

Click here for a complete NorthEscambia.com photo gallery with dozens of pictures from the May 20 event.

The following information was presented to the awards committee that judged the Food for American Program:

Northview FFA chapter members began implementing Food For America planning in early fall of 2008 with a letter of notice to both invited schools and potential vendors letting them know of the date for the 2009 activity on campus. Committees were formed and in January the Northview FFA chapter sent letters of invitation to all of the elementary schools both Escambia County, and two surrounding counties in Alabama. We requested that all of the schools RSVP with the number of students they would be bringing. There were approximately 100 FFA members that participated in running this program along with 38 off campus exhibitors and over 800 invited guests. We had several attention grabbers including tractors, poultry, cattle, horses, an apiary display and a helicopter from the Florida Forestry Division. Other vendors consisted of Pine Ridge Farms, Walnut Hill Fire Department, Northview 4-H, Escambia River Electrical Cooperative, Natural Resource Conservation Service, University of Florida-Milton, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Young Farmers and Ranchers, Humane Society, North Escambia Bee Association and Stewart’s Grist Mill. The NHS-FFA members were tour guides for the elementary students. They were responsible for their group and escorted each class of students to the different exhibits. We also had a safety related puppet show, and a film on the importance of agriculture that students were able to watch while they consumed animal crackers and half pints of milk. Funds for the food were provided by Escambia County Farm Bureau. Coverage of this event consisted of three local newspapers: The Atmore Advance, Tri-City Ledger, and NorthEscambia.com. Pensacola WEAR Channel 3 was also in attendance and ran a package that night on the evening news of the day’s activities.

Pictured above: FFA students from Northview High and Ernest Ward Middle schools in Orlando. Pictured inset: Students learn about making corn meal at the NHS Food for America Program earlier this year. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Several North Escambia Teachers, Staff Members Retire

June 11, 2009

More names have been added to the list of North Escambia teachers and staff members that have resigned or retired since we ran our story yesterday.

We wanted to recognized each, so we are running the story again today.

The Escambia County School Board has announced the following list of North Escambia area teachers and staff members that have resigned or retired:

  • Deborah Emmanuel, counselor, Ransom, retired
  • Sarah Dawson, teacher assistant, Tate, retired
  • Janna Dickey, teacher, Ernest Ward, retired
  • Barbara Dunsford, data specialist, Bratt, retired
  • Eleece Gibson, teacher assistant, Ernest Ward, retired
  • Idella Gideon, teacher, Jim Allen, retired
  • William Hoff, teacher, Tate, retired
  • Susan Hood, teacher, Tate, retired
  • Daniel Jones, teacher, Ransom, retired
  • Susan Jones, teacher, Carver/Century, retired
  • Carol Killam, teacher, Bratt, retired
  • Grace Lorenz, teacher, Molino Park, retired
  • Carolyn Phillips, custodial, Tate, retired
  • George Pomeroy, principal, Ransom, retired
  • Ravoe Nelson, teacher, Molino Park
  • John Reese, teacher, Tate, retired
  • Annie Richardson, custodial, Northview
  • Donna Roddenbery, teacher, Ransom, retired
  • Amy Welch, teacher, Bratt
  • Lynn Welch, teacher, Northview
  • Tami Westbrook, food services, Jim Allen
  • John Willey, teacher, Tate
  • Annette Williams, custodial worker, Bratt, retired

The school board will officially accept the retirements and resignations next week.

Northview High Announces Honor Rolls

June 10, 2009

Northview High School has released high honor and honor rolls for the fourth nine-week grading period.

Students on the High Honor Roll, with a 4.0, are:

9th Grade:
Holly Nicole Dickson
Amber Dianne Francis
Elizabeth Ashley Wright
10th Grade
Hillary Kate Byrd
Ashley Elizabeth Digmon
James Tyler Garrett
Jocelyn Marlese Gould
Sarah Malinda Killam
Michael Todd Lowery
Stephanie Katlynn Miller
Christina Nicole Sepulveda
Hayley Renee Simpson
Colton Darryl Sims
Stephanie Leann Solari
11th Grade
Kaitlyn Nicole Caraway
Clinton Eugene Davis
Mark Allen Shipps Jr.
12th Grade
Gretchen Denea Boughner
John Louis Handrop
Jody Wade Levins
Frederick Lamario Smith
Ashley Arlene Snow

Students on the Honor Roll, with 3.5-3.99 average, are:

9th Grade
Arthur Jacob Baldwin
Jacob Nathaniel Gibson
Camilah Joy Goetter
Chelsea Grace Parham
Alexander Dewayne Payne
Tyler Lindsay Randolph
Joel Nathaniel Wetzel
10th grade
Mallory Ann Bell
Brandi Shabril Boggan
Allie Rebecca Bryan
Allyson Michelle Bullard
Sara Lynn Conner
Laneicia Dinette Gomez
Kara Renae Hardin
Shaniqua Shanell Jones
David Aaron Lambert Jr.
Dabney Harrison Langhorne
Dustin Neal Lewis
Brittany Cheyenne Peebles
Dixie Lynn Picheo
Derrick Edward Portis Jr
Alexis Haylee Roach
Brianna Renae Roley
Megan Juliette Ryan
Joshua Clayton Scott
Dimond Brooke Tullis
Emily Faith Vickrey
Allison Ayers Vidak
Ladarion Bernard White
Katie Marie Wieborg
11th grade
Jessica Nicole Bloodsworth
Kolbi Shae Cobb
Candice Louise Greenwell
Bradley James Lowery
Amber Nicole McMillan
Felicia Michelle Settle
Dakota Wayne Stuckey
12th grade
Richard Kyle Braun
Kayla Sue Brewer
Clarence Alfred Brown III
Coty James Chance
Amy Nicole Conner
Lanie Jeannine Eubanks
Whitney Michelle Flurnoy
Michael Lee Frye
Jamison Blayne Garrett
Melissa Nicole Garrett
Briana Renea Halteman
Stormy Brooke Hayes
Amber Renae Holland
Luke Fletcher Killam
Samantha Parry Merritt
Timeka Janay Marshall
Samantha Parry Merritt
Jessica Maria Mothershed
Summer Denise Sanders
Amanda Morgan Sellars
Aaron Richard Sharpless
James Anthony Sharpless
Chelsea Ellen Sims
Amie Jolynn Sutton
Garbell Sharda Wesley
Kayla Dlaine Wheeler

Teacher To Be Hired To Ensure Community Involvement At Bratt And Ernest Ward

June 8, 2009

becomeoneall.jpgThe Escambia County School District is hiring a teacher on special assignment to help ensure that parents and the community are as involved as possible at Ernest Ward Middle and Bratt Elementary schools next year.

It is all part of the plan to make sure the consolidation of Carver/Century K-8 into Ernest Ward and Bratt goes as smoothly as possible.

“We are using stimulus money to hire this person to help with community involvement at Bratt and Ernest Ward,” Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas told NorthEscambia.com. “A big part of the program will be to help Century residents participate in the schools.”

When Thomas announced the closure and consolidation of Carver/Century, there were concerns expressed by many Century area residents that they and their children would not be able to become involved in their child’s school.

According to the job description for the position, the person hired will be a certified teacher that will:

  • provide leadership in transition activities
  • serve as a liaison between families, various committees, departments and agencies as requested by the principals
  • assist the principals in the development, preparation and a process of data collection, needs assessments, satisfaction surveys and other activities
  • assist the principals and office support personnel in the preparation  of calendars, fliers, newsletters and registration packets
  • coordinate and facilitate partnerships with civic groups, business partners, mentors and volunteers

“We will see if we get results and the position is beneficial before we continue it next year,” Thomas said. “We will see if it increases parental involvement.”

Ernest Ward Names Students Of The Month; GPA And Principal Award Winners

June 8, 2009

Today, NorthEscambia.com continues a series of stories with award listings from area schools. Today’s listing contains the names of some of the award winners from Ernest Ward Middle School that received awards during the year for Student of the Month, plus year end awards for Highest GPA and the Principal’s Award.

Students of the Month 2008-2009

August 2008: Shalmali Bhadkamkar, Tamara Green, Ashton Gibbs and Jasmine Maher
September 2008: Charmayne Fountain, Courtney Weaver, Ashley Mooney and Ancel Pleasant
October 2008: Logan Lee, Jenny Spears, Kaitlyn Gunn and Brannen Bateman
November 2008: Austin Cunningham, Lily Townson, Harold Harrison and Ashlynn Clemmons
December 2008: Hannah Gibson, Jessica Lowery, Marisa Penland and Jacob Hendrix.
January 2009: Danielle Suggs, Victoria Wright, Justin Halteman and Derick Edmonson
February 2009: Tamara Wise, Anna Fischer, Hannah Ziglar and Jodi Ard
March 2009: Kyndall Hall, Danielle Scott, Jonathan Moretz and Radeja’nique Lewis
April 2009: Penny Banda, Danielle Steadham, Georgia Goetter and John McGary
May 2009: Morgan Ward, Austin Kelly, Zach Johnson and Isaiah Williams

Highest GPA Awards:

6th grade: Amy Elizabeth Murph
7th grade: Kasie Lee Braun
8th grade: Haley Dezarae Turner
Highest GPA Overall: Amy Elizabeth Murph

Mrs. Perry’s Principal Award
6th grade: Joshawa Burton
7th grade: Quanisha Green
8th grade: Chris Leonard

Northview Honors Teacher, Volunteers Of The Year

June 8, 2009


Teacher and volunteers of the year at Northview High School were recently honored.

Bill Welch was named the Senior Volunteer of the Year for NHS. Bryan Colburn was named  Adult Volunteer of the Year. Micah Byars was named the Student Volunteer of the Year, and Sasha Blackburn was named the Teacher of the Year.

Pictured above: (L-R) Bill Welch, Bryan Colburn, Sasha Blackburn and Micah Byars were honored recently for their service to Northview High School. Submitted photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge. 

Bratt Elementary Awards Kindergarten, First Grade Students

June 5, 2009

Today, NorthEscambia.com continues a series of stories with award listings from area schools. Today’s listing contains the names of Bratt Elementary School students in grades K-1 that received awards in ceremonies at the end of the year.(Editors note: If you are a teacher or administrator at an area school, please send any awards lists that you might have to news@northescambia.com for a future story.)
Mrs. Rackard Kindergarten class
Most Improved: Million Montgomery, Martina Howard; Citizenship Award: April Johnson; Music Award: April Johnson; P.E. Award: Autumn Williams; Art Award: Madelyn Berry; Book-it Award: Wyatt Dillon, Delan Grant, Breyden Freeman, April Johnson, Autumn Williams

Mrs. Wendt’s Kindergarten class

Outstanding Attendance: Maggie Amerson, Jaylon North, Andrianna Cooper; Most Improved: Arrington Odom, Travis Butler; Outstanding Citizenship: Hannah Hughes; Outstanding P.E. Student: Maggie Amerson; Outstanding Art Student: Esme’ Culleton; Outstanding Music Student: Jaylon North; Book-it Awards: Travis Butler, Jaylon North, Kenna Redmond, Michael Sanders

Mrs. Killam’s Kindergarten class

Citizenship Award: Shelby Godwin; Outstanding Progress Award: Hannah Brousseau, Cody Thomas; Outstanding Attendance Award: Haleigh Dean, Libby Pugh, Jonathan Windham; Art Award: Libby Pugh; Music Award: Taviana Parker; P.E. Award: Cody Thomas Book-it Awards: Haleigh Dean, Shelby Godwin, Taviana Parker, Libby Pugh, Cody Thomas, Jonathan Windham

All Kindergarten students received a participation award.

Mrs. Gilmore’s First Grade class

A Honor Roll Award: Cierra Stabler, Bailey Van Pelt, Wyatt Windham; A/B Honor Roll Award: Sheyenne Dillon, Jakob Gibson, Lauren Sapp, Cassidy White, Ben Wilson; Citizenship Award: Bailey Van Pelt, Brianna Hall (Ms. Cobb); Most Improved: Ansleigh Maholovich, Aaliyah Pope, Brianna Hall (Ms. Cobb); Accelerated Reading Award: Bailey Van Pelt, Jakob Gibson, Cassidy White, Gracen Brook, Ben Wilson; Art Award: Cierra Stabler; P.E. Award: Ben Wilson; Music Award: Bailey Van Pelt.

Mrs. Perritt’s First Grade class

A Honor Roll Award: Christopher Nordman, Teriana Redmond, Savanah Roley; A/B Honor Roll Award: Devon Rhinehart, Anna King, Jackson Edwards, Melissa Sunday, AJ Simmons, Kelley Bradley, Makenzie Moorer; Outstanding Citizenship: Melissa Sunday; Most Improved: Jackson Edwards, Makenzie Moorer

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