Grove Park Elementary principal removed after school gets F grade

Former Grove Park Principal Eric Gross
Eric Gross

The longtime principal of Grove Park Elementary has been transferred from the school after the school’s grade dropped to an F this month.

Eric Gross, principal of the Palm Beach Gardens school since 2010, has been moved to a “principal on assignment” position at Intensive Transition South, an alternative school for at-risk students in Lake Worth.

In a brief interview, Gross said that he would be overseeing the school along with its current principal but declined to comment further. A school district administrator said Gross will be working as an assistant principal. The school board signed off on his transfer Wednesday.

Gross will be replaced at Grove Park by Jo Rodgers, previously the principal of D.D. Eisenhower Elementary.

Grove Park is one of two district-operated schools that received an F this year from the state, along with Washington Elementary in Riviera Beach. Both schools dropped after being D schools last year and higher-rated schools in previous years.

Earlier this month, Deputy Superintendent David Christiansen said that administrators “were disappointed” by the drops at both schools.

In an interview Wednesday, Christiansen said that the school’s drop in performance was the key factor in the decision to remove Gross.

“We wanted to really look at a change in leadership there,” he said.

He added, though, that Gross “is a good leader with a proven track record.”

The school had a B rating just a few years ago but fell last year to a D and then to an F this year, Christiansen said. He said that the fall was due in part to the ending of an extended school day required because of the school’s low performance on reading scores.

Christiansen said that no leadership changes are planned at Washington Elementary, the other district-run F school.

Gross is a veteran school administrator who once led Lighthouse Elementary and had served as assistant principal at D.D. Eisenhower and Berkshire elementary schools before that.

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