The Grades Are In

As far as grades go, Leon is one of the best school districts in the state; 70 percent of the schools got an A, but one rural community is basking in the spotlight and setting the bar.

While Leon County did receive high marks across the board, the real success story is in Gadsden County where a school that got an f last year overcame the odds and gained state wide attention.

Looking over the 2003 school grades, Gov. Jeb Bush says the state of Florida should go in to the business of myth shattering.

"Sick and tired of people saying kids can't learn because of family structure, economic
background and everything. It's not true," says Gov. Bush.

Bush says Stewart Street Elementary in Gadsden County is proof that all kids can learn no matter their race, creed or background.

Stewart Street went from an F to a B this year, with an overwhelming majority of students qualifying for free lunch.

"We told the students it doesn't matter where you come from or what you have. You have the ability to learn as long as you are determined," says Rosa Barkley, Stewart Street Elementary Principal.

Across the state school grades are up. Bush calls it a new day in Florida, with 1230 schools getting an A, compared to 894 last year. While the number of A schools is up, the number of F schools is down. Just look at Leon County, where not one school got an F.

"Sixty-nine percent of A's increased 50 percent over the last two years. One D improved in every area except writing," says Leon County Schools Superintendent, Bill Montford.

Leon and Gadsden County are just two districts that make this the biggest improvement in student achievement to date. Leon County superintendent Montford called this a historic day for the district.

Parents or anyone interested in seeing a complete list of schools grades can log onto