Florida Department of Education Releases FCAT Scores


Florida Department of Education Releases FCAT Scores
LCS Ranked Number One Minority-Majority District in Third Grade Reading
Exceeds State Average in Third Grade Reading and Math

Tallahassee—The Florida Department of Education released 2013-14 FCAT data for third grade reading and mathematics and fourth, eighth, and tenth grade writing exams.

Leon County Schools continues to beat the state average in third grade reading (+5%) and math (+7%). Compared with districts of similar size, LCS ranked fifth in math and sixth in reading. For the second year in a row, LCS was recognized by the Florida State Board of Education as an Academically High Performing District.

“Please join me in congratulating our outstanding administrators and teachers for their hard work and dedication,” said Superintendent Jackie Pons. “LCS is the number one ranked minority-majority district in reading proficiency and third in math. I am very proud of our progress in closing the achievement gap as evidenced by these scores.”

Third Grade Reading

Overall LCS increased reading scores by 4%. Sixteen schools improved their scores with Pineview showing the greatest gains (+19%). The number of students scoring Level 1 in Reading decreased from 465 to 386, reducing the number of students recommended for participation in the Summer Reading Academy. In the past two years, LCS reduced the number of students scoring at Level 1 in reading from 504 to 386 (118 students).
Third Grade Math

Overall LCS increased math scores by 6%. Sixteen schools showed improvements; Ft. Braden showed the greatest increase (+31%).

Twelve of our schools showed improvements in both reading and math: Buck Lake, Canopy Oaks, Chaires, Conley, Ft. Braden, Killearn Lakes, Moore, Pineview, Roberts, Ruediger, Springwood and Woodville
District Writing Score- all schools
Grade 2013 percent 3.5 & above 2014 percent at 3.5 & above Rate of change State Average 2014 LCS percent at 3.5 & above, excluding charter schools LCS compared to state, without charter schools

LCS exceeded the state average in 4th and 8th grade writing. The District increased writing proficiency in elementary (+4%), middle (+4%), and high (+11%). All LCS high schools made gains in writing; Godby showed the greatest increase in proficiency (23%). Fourteen of 24 (54%) elementary schools showed increases; Springwood, at 38%, made the greatest gains. Six of 9 (67%) middle schools (including Ft. Braden) made improvements in writing scores. Nims leads the district with a 28% increase in proficiency.





TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University’s Seven Days of Opening Nights performing arts series and Leon County Schools announced Thursday that they were selected by the Kennedy Center as one of 11 new teams nationwide to participate in its Partners in Education Program. The program is designed to assist arts organizations throughout the nation in developing or expanding educational partnerships with their local school systems.


“Opening Nights’ strategic goals include engaging students through experiences that support the curricula of schools throughout our region,” said Christopher Heacox, executive director of Seven Days of Opening Nights at Florida State. “In partnering with Leon County Schools, we have the opportunity to develop a sustainable relationship that will support our goals for many years to come.”


Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons said the school district’s partnership with Seven Days of Opening Nights and the support of the Kennedy Center is an example of the community’s support of the arts.


“We know through research that these students perform at a higher level than other students because of their love of the arts,” Pons said. “Hopefully this message will be felt not only here in Leon County, it will be felt throughout the state. We’ve got to do more when it comes to promoting arts in our schools and to make sure that we provide these opportunities for our children.”

Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts will be the pilot site for the Seven Days of Opening Nights-Leon County Schools partnership. As a pilot site, Apalachee’s teachers will continue to sharpen their skills in arts integration, an approach to teaching that allows students to engage in a creative process to connect an art form to another subject area. The teachers will then instruct other Leon County Schools teachers in arts integration workshops.


“We are excited for what this pilot project means for our students, teachers and the community,” said Iris Wilson, principal of Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts. “Our students will now be able to continue to have the infusion of the arts and grow developmentally, creatively and critically in all subject areas.”

Each of the nation’s 11 new teams of arts organizations and school systems will participate in the Partners in Education Institute, which will be held April 23-26 in Washington, D.C. The new teams will join the 94 teams from 42 states and the District of Columbia already participating in the Partners in Education Program, now in its 23rd year.


Apalachee representative Anedra Johnson will join Heacox and Ashley Kerns, program coordinator for Seven Days of Opening Nights, at the institute to study how workshops are designed, implemented and evaluated. The program will be implemented at Apalachee during the 2014-2015 school year.


In addition to the participation in the four-day Institute, the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program provides follow-up consultation to assist in program and partnership development, annual multiday meetings and special access to Kennedy Center resources.




envision donation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 13, 2014) – Envision Credit Union today presented America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend with $9,400 to fund meals for approximately 300 students during the spring break holiday. An additional $600 was donated to purchase a book for each child receiving meals, for a total donation of $10,000. The donation was part of Envision’s Swipe for Schools, a credit card rewards program that earned cash for Leon County schools.

“We launched the Swipe for Schools program to provide our members with a way to make a meaningful contribution to the students in our community,” said Darryl Worrell, President and CEO of Envision Credit Union. “We’re so honored to be able to send these meals and books home with these students over the holiday.”

During the 2013-2014 school year, Envision members with a VISA credit were able to earn five cents with every purchase toward the goal of $10,000. Through Second Harvest’s backpack program, the students will receive three meals a day for the entire 10-day holiday.

“Envision’s commitment and capacity for caring will make a real difference for hundreds of students during this school break,” said Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons. “Without the meals provided by the school system, spring break can be a difficult time for many of our students, but thanks to Envision these children will not go hungry.”

Due to the program’s success and positive impact on the community, Envision plans to repeat it during the upcoming school year. Envision Members without an Envision VISA credit card who would like to participate in upcoming initiatives can access a credit card application through the Swipe for Schools website, www.envisioncu.com/SwipeforSchools.

Founded by educators in 1954, Envision Credit Union has been supporting education for decades. Serving more than 31,500 members, Envision Credit Union remains committed to providing members with quality financial services at the lowest possible cost.

Service and Achievement Define Top Seniors at Leon County High Schools

Service and Achievement Define Top Seniors at Leon County High Schools

9th Annual Best and Brightest Awards Announces School-Based Finalists

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week, 150 of Leon County’s most outstanding high school seniors were selected as finalists for the 2014 Best and Brightest Awards, which recognize public and private school students who excel both in their academics and service. The finalists from each school will undergo an interview process culminating in the announcement of the countywide winners at the Best and Brightest Awards Ceremony, which will be held May 14 at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

“Once again, the categories are filled with exceptional students who consistently demonstrate an indisputable dedication to leadership, civic duty and service to the community” said Laura Rogers, Program Director of World Class Schools and coordinator of the Best and Brightest Awards. “Each of these outstanding finalists epitomizes Leon County’s effectiveness in nurturing successful and caring students.”

The Best and Brightest Awards program — now in its ninth year — has recognized more than 1,050 exceptional public and private high school seniors and awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships since its inception. The Best and Brightest Awards program is sponsored by Envision Credit Union, in partnership with Leon County Schools, World Class Schools of Leon County, the Tallahassee Democrat, Sachs Media Group, Awards 4 U, Tallahassee Community College, ITT Technical Institute, Southern Scholarship Foundation, Target Copy and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

On March 1, panels of select community leaders will interview the 2014 finalists on such topics as foreign language, technology and music, to determine the winners of the countywide awards. This year, 150 finalists will be evaluated on their academic achievement, leadership and community service. A winner, runner-up and honorable mention recipient will be named from each category.

“Leon County students have a track record of leadership and civic service and this year, they have gone above and beyond and set a new, commendable standard,” said Ron Sachs, founder of the Best and Brightest Awards and president of Sachs Media Group. “These students exhibit a dedication and kindness that will serve them well not only now, but also as they move into their future careers and as they pursue life’s opportunities.”

To reach this point, all finalists have demonstrated a solid record of academic achievement and expertise in one of 15 competitive categories in addition to school and community service. First-place winners in each category will receive scholarships of $1,500; runners-up will be awarded $750; and honorable mention recipients will receive $500. All other finalists will receive a $100 scholarship in recognition of their superlative accomplishments.

In addition to celebrating high school students, the Best and Brightest Awards program reaches out to younger Leon County students. The program conducts an Eighth Grade Essay Contest, and three students from across the county will win awards ranging from $100 to $500. The contest provides middle school students with much-needed positive reinforcement and helps encourage them to reflect on the importance of community involvement and academic achievement as they enter their high school careers. Schools will select the winning essays in April.

Another highlight of the program is the Spirit of the Best and Brightest Award, which is presented to the Best and Brightest winner whose deep commitment to civic duty and service stands out most to the judges. That student will receive a $2,500 scholarship commemorating the late Brooks Rogers, in addition to his or her Best and Brightest scholarship award winnings.

 This year’s finalists for the Ninth Annual Best and Brightest Awards are:

Art:  Lacy Barineau (Maclay School), Wanjing Cui (Chiles High School), Adelaide Determann (Florida State University School), Steven Goodchild (SAIL High School), Angelina Liu (Lincoln High School), Kenya Lloyd (Godby High School), Kiara Palmer (Rickards High School), La’Karis Salter (FAMU Developmental Research School), Sable Thompson (Leon High School), Yuqing Wu (John Paul II Catholic School)

Athletics:  Javier Escobar III (FAMU Developmental Research School), George Gilliam (SAIL High School),Adrian Hendlin (Chiles High School), Kristyn Hollenbeck (Florida State University School), MaShawn Knight (Godby High School), Erin Kolman (John Paul II Catholic School), Darrielle McQueen (North Florida Christian School), Kolby McWilliams (Maclay School), Ainsley Pratt (Lincoln High School), Phalguna Rupanagudi (Rickards High School), Carter Thompson (Leon High School

Business:  Haley Ashlin (Leon High School), Antonzia Darville (Godby High School), Brian Leichus (Chiles High School), Jessica Levenstein (Maclay School), Kelechi Nnaji (Rickards High School), Jaedin Renfroe (Lincoln High School), Deanne Roberts (Florida State University School), Jaidyn Wiard (SAIL High School)

Career/Technical: Jaylon Barnes (Godby High School), Alaina Branch (Florida State University School), Tamia Campbell (FAMU Developmental Research School), Missette Fleurissaint (Leon High School), Sarah Gurley (Rickards High School),Tessa Leininger (Maclay School), Kayla Parker (Lincoln High School), Alayna Sibille (Chiles High School), David Wisniewski (SAIL High School)

Drama & Performing Arts:  Anna Brooks (Maclay School), Anna Butler (Community Christian School), Thea Duncan-Beaumont (Godby High School), Mathieu Fredrickson (Leon High School), Jonathan Goodwin (FAMU Developmental Research School), Victoria Hines (John Paul II Catholic School), Kelsey James (Florida State University School),

Roxanne Jester (Chiles High School), Jennifer Merrick (SAIL High School), Christopher Pippin (Lincoln High School), Kaylee Vigue (Rickards High School)

English & Language Arts:  Joss Abaco (SAIL High School), Yasemin Altun (Rickards High School), Theresa Button (John Paul II Catholic School), Macy Craig (Godby High School), Kathryn Croft (Florida State University School), Caitlyn Gibson (Chiles High School), Adrienne Harmon (FAMU Developmental Research School), Brooke Harrison (Leon High School), Natalie Jones (Lincoln High School), Emily Ostreich (Maclay School)

Foreign Language:  Makristina Aggabao (Lincoln High School), Aileen Bustamante (SAIL High School), William Courreges-Clercq (Maclay School), Yu Liu (Godby High School), Daniel Mangan (John Paul II Catholic School), Shelby McCrackin (Florida State University School), Kevin Ramirez (Rickards High School), Mackenzie Teek (Leon High School),

Cecilia Xie (Chiles High School)

Journalism:  Lucas Alexander (Chiles High School), Kari Baasch (Florida State University School), Julia Filloon (Maclay School), Hunter Gillespie (Lincoln High School), Madison Harris-Parks (Rickards High School), Torri Hart (FAMU Developmental Research School), Mina Kaji (Leon High School), Alissea Merritt (SAIL High School), Marshall Moyle (John Paul II Catholic School), Phong Pham (Godby High School)

Leadership:  Carly Craig (Maclay School), Joshua Gallaher (Chiles High School), Beatrice Hearn (Community Christian School), Pamela Hu (Rickards High School), Amina Kamau (SAIL High School), Carolyn Nguyen (Godby High School), Sarah Roberts (Florida State University School), Juan Salters (FAMU Developmental Research School), Ria Shah (Lincoln High School), Lacey Silvestri (John Paul II Catholic School), Alexander Strickland (North Florida Christian School), Brooke Williams (Leon High School)

Mathematics:  Dionte Boddie (Godby High School), Courtney Johnson (Leon High School), Egwuchukwu Kalu (John Paul II Catholic School), Parisa Keshavarz-Joud (Maclay School), Charles McCarthy (Florida State University School), Redden Money (SAIL High School), Adrienne Nelson (FAMU Developmental Research School), Robert Rogers (North Florida Christian School), Alexander Yu (Rickards High School), Jimmy Zhang (Chiles High School),

Jeffery Zou (Lincoln High School)

Music:  Samuel Cherrier-Vickers (Leon High School), Jatericka Connelly (Rickards High School), Justin Fitzpatrick (FAMU Developmental Research School), Avonlea Geisbert (Florida State University School), Nathan Hoekman (Chiles High School), John Hogan (Maclay School), Austin Locke (Godby High School), Brea Pack (John Paul II Catholic School), Francisco Westberry (SAIL High School), Crystal Zhang (Lincoln High School)

 Public Speaking:  Amber Borgersen (Leon High School), James Daughton (Maclay School), Tram Dinh (Rickards High School), Stuart Garrity (Florida State University School), Devin Harrison (Godby High School), Haley May (Chiles High School), Aidan Newsome (John Paul II Catholic School), Yasmire Whigham (FAMU Developmental Research School), Cole Zelznak (Lincoln High School)

Science & Health:  Christopher Allison (Maclay School), Sara Cowart (Florida State University School), Stephen Crothers (SAIL High School), Curtis Crowther (Chiles High School), Haley Hall (Godby High School), Megan Logan (John Paul II Catholic School), Alyssa Morrison (Rickards High School), Blaire Scoles (Lincoln High School), Samantha Skrob (Leon High School), Ariana Uwaibi (FAMU Developmental Research School)

Social Sciences:  Hannah Acree (Godby High School), Christian Bell (Maclay School), Lauren Biddle (North Florida Christian School), Kayley Erickson (Lincoln High School), Luke Forsthoefel (John Paul II Catholic School), Matthew Kang (Rickards High School), Ashley Moore (SAIL High School), Cooper Perlman (Florida State University School), Sarah Schrader-Nahoom (Leon High School), Anisha Sinha (Chiles High School), Stafon Thomas (FAMU Developmental Research School)

Technology:    Adam Claitt (FAMU Developmental Research School), Victor Cordiano (Rickards High School), Saikrishnapriya Gunasegaran (Godby High School), Jae Ha (Maclay School), Harrison Kent (Leon High School), John Edward Muchovej (Lincoln High School), Brady Robshaw (Florida State University School), Shawn Wilson (Chiles High School), Brenna Wonsey (SAIL High School)

For more information about the Best and Brightest Awards, visit www.thebestandbrightestawards.com.

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2013-14 LCS History Fair Winners

Congratulations to the 2013-14 LCS History Fair winners. There were 138 entries at the county level –310 students participated in person at the Fairgrounds on Thursday, February 27. There were 16  schools (public, private, home schooled) and more than 1900 students across the county that participated.

Here is the list of this year’s winners that will be advancing to the State level competition.

1 HSI Doc- 5 Leon Dorothy Williams James Meredith
2 HSI Doc- 3 Leon James McAuley Korematsu v. U.S.
1  HSG Doc- 3 Leon Talise Jager-Sumner and Gina Niekus The Jugan Ianfu: Comfort Women
2  HSG Doc- 2 Lincoln Rachel Corry and Robin Rodriguez The Vel’ d’Hiv’: A Forgotten Tragedy
1 HSIPerf-2 Leon Mikael Lewis Corporate Personhood and its Relation to Corporate Rights and Responsibilities
2 HSIPerf-1 Leon Michael Mattox  Using Dirty Jokes as a Political Dirty Trick
1 HSI-16 Leon Nate Miller Ronald Reagan and the PATCO Strike
2 HSI-21 Lincoln Madison Short The Scopes Trial: Rights and Responsibilities
1 HSG-10 Leon Juan Gonzalez, Michelle Ramirez Nazis
2 HSG-16 Lincoln Abbey Schultz, Natalie Knoble, Althea Johnson La Pucelle
1 HS Historical Paper- 6 Lincoln Adrianna Williams Blood on Their Hands: A Study that Disregarded Ethical Code and Caused Irreparable Damage to an Entire Race
2 HS Historical Paper- 4 Leon Rachael Joyner Gene Therapy, Bioethics, and Pushing the Boundaries of Medicione: An Exploration of Rights and Responsibilities
1 HS Ind Web Lincoln Nathan Morse Gideon v. Wainwright: Protecting the Right to Counsel
2 HS Ind Web Lincoln Rachel Hudson Kent State: The Rights and Responsibilities of Protest
1 MSI-Doc 2 Deerlake Julia Jin Customs Over Rules
2 MSI-Doc 8 Fairview Zaria Spell How to Dress: the History and Evolution of Muslim Women’s dress code
1 MSG-Doc 8 CCS Josh Macri, Evan Bouck, Josh Ciarlariello Atomic Bomb: Did the US have the right and responsibility to launch the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.
2 MSG-Doc 3 Fairview McCall Chapin, Lily Sweet King Who Owns the Past?  Rights and Responsibilities of Conflict Art During WWII
1 MSI Perf-5 Deerlake Emily Walker Till Death Do Us Part
2 MSI Perf-2 Cobb Michalea Frederickson Child Labor in England
1 MSG Perf-5 Deerlake Cynthia Wang, Odessa Deng Duck and Cover: Explosive Propaganda During the Cold War
2 MSG Perf-4 Fairview Ashlyn Lacy, Cherry Moparthy, Katie Sorell The Battle of Natural Bridge: An Empty Victory
1 MSI-53 Cobb Kevin Phillips Andrew Jackson and the Cherokee Indians
2 MSI-19 Cobb  Omie Coyne Women in WWII Rights and Responsibilities
1 MSG-22 Fairview Creed King, Townsend Porcher, Kate Powell “He lived for others, he died for us: The Medical and Ethical use of cadavers”
2 MSG-23 Fairview Alexandra Krikorian, Amanda Wiman Books in Chains
1 MSI Web Deerlake Laurel Guffey Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 1911
2 MSI Web Montford Caroline Englert The Triangle Shirtwaist Tragedy
1 MSG Web Fairview Mattie Mooney-McMillan, Priscella Solis, Sharry Anne Solis Op Peter Pan
2 MSG Web Cobb Steward Hanna, Wallace, Malorie and Maki, Lillith Women’s Equality   ?
1 HS Group Web Lincoln Alexa Harkness and Hank Wirick Yellowstone National Park Act of 1872
2 HS Group Web Leon Sadie Gruber and Sebastian Brahier Miranda v. Arizona
1 MS Historical Paper-9 Trinity Catholic Amy Lepley Tape v. Hurley:  How a Chinese Family Led the Way to Universal Public Education in the United States
2 MS Historical Paper-12 Montford Alison Stevens Geneva Convention: Protecting Rights During Time of War


Superintendent Pons Statement on VAM Score Release

Based upon our distinction as a high-performing district, Leon County Schools has the best teachers in the state. I do not believe that the results of one test on one day are a complete picture of the effectiveness of our teachers and schools. Teaching and learning are complex processes that cannot be measured through a “covariance model” when results are only available for a small sampling of our teachers.

Yesterday the Florida Department of Education complied with a court order and released the results of Florida’s Value Added Model (VAM). The VAM calculation is a complex formula that attempts to use the results of some of Florida’s statewide assessments to quantify the impact of teacher effectiveness on a single measure.

Each day our teachers and administrators bring their passion and the excitement of instruction to life in our schools. A great teacher can change a student’s life, something that cannot be quantified through a VAM score. I want to thank each of you for the dedication and inspiration that you provide to our students, parents and community.