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School Grades: More Passing Than Failing

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

School grades are out, and among Leon County schools 20 "As" and one "F" school can be found. The district's Second Chance School hit that low mark, but some say it isn't a fair representation of the school.

Second Chance School is home to children who've been expelled from school for violating policy or breaking the law. This is the first year grades have been doled out to alternative schools such as Second Chance, a practice some say needs polishing.

Leon County's Second Chance School is a last chance for many students.

Second Chance School Principal Tom Dunn says, "If we weren't here, many of our students could possibly be locked up out of town, working their way through the juvenile court systems."

For the first time ever, this alternative school was given a grade under Gov. Bush’s A+ plan, and administrators admit the "F" grade came as no shock.

"Obviously, a vast majority of those kids have severe learning challenges, no surprise to us that they received an "F," said Leon County Schools Superintendent Bill Montford.

That "F’s" going to leave a mark on the school’s record, while the student body that scored it is only temporary.

"Ninety percent of our children won't be with us next year and very few come back, so we think we are being successful because we don't have return, however, that ‘F’ is with us for the next four years," said Dunn.

Which begs the question, is it fair to hold this unique pupil population to the same standards as the general student body?

"Life is not always fair; if it was I would have your hair," said k-12 chancellor Jim Arford.

Under normal circumstances, if a school gets two "Fs" in a four-year period they can apply for school vouchers, but that policy doesn't apply here, so some see giving grades to alternative schools is a senseless measure.

Principal Dunn believes in being held accountable, but wants lawmakers to take into account the challenges facing his student body and staff. School leaders point to their track record, 80 percent of the school’s population earns their high school diploma, or return to their home school.


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