Led by Grena, students surpass expectations with FCAT writing scores

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By Pat Faherty

t has been a great school year for Gretna Elementary.
Earlier the Rams celebrated as Gretna was named an "A" school and last week it was announced they led the district as well as the Big Bend Region, in the percentage of students passing the FCAT Writing Test.

"Gretna Elementary excelled with 100 percent of its fourth grade students passing," announced Superintendent Reginald James at a press conference on the district's scores.
Passing means students must score 4 or higher on a six-point grading scale on the writing essay test. This year Gretna improved by 18 percent over 2010 when 82 percent of its students passed.

According to James, The entire community has a lot to be proud of when it comes to their students’ ability to write and rightfully so. "We raised the bar this year, we raised the expectations," he said. "They were able to rise to our expectations and exceed them.

"We're just so proud of them.

District Fourth graders rank sixth highest in the state. Of the 13 graded schools in the Gadsden County School District tested in writing, six had 90 percent or more of their students score at or above this year’s higher passing score of four.

Gadsden Magnet increased to earn the district’s second highest performance at 95 percent, followed by Stewart Street at 93 percent and Greensboro and St. John Elementary both at 92 percent.
Shanks Middle moved into the 90th percentile with a 1 percent increase over last year.  Chattahoochee Elementary was most improved with gains of 35 percent for a passing rate of 75 percent. Last year only 40 percent of its students passed. Prinicipal Elijah Key Jr. attributed the  improvement to some changes at the school.

Havana Elementary had an increase of 3 points upping its student performance rate to 79 percent while George W. Munroe maintained a 62 percent passing rate, the same score as last year.

Havana Middle School lost 20 points for a 69 percent passing rate.

Both East and West Gadsden high schools posted lower scores than last year. West Gadsden slid from 80 percent passing in 2010 to 63 percent this year. East Gadsden dropped from 83 percent to 63 percent.