More than 70 of Palm Beach County’s public schools earned A grades from the state this year. But sharing the same letter grade doesn’t mean those schools performed equally well under Florida’s school-grading formula.
The state’s A-rating is a pretty broad category. So broad, in fact, that nearly 30 percent of Florida public schools earned A grades this year.
So we’ve assembled a ranking of Palm Beach County’s 20 top-performing schools under the state’s grading formula. These schools comprise roughly the top 10 percent of the 207 county public schools that received school grades this year.
Of the top 20 schools, two are charter schools: Western Academy and Somerset Academy Boca Middle School. The other 18 are schools operated by the Palm Beach County School District.
Not surprisingly, the five top-ranked schools are application-only campuses, meaning every student has to apply to attend and is selected if they meet certain criteria.
Also not surprising: The 20 highest-rated schools tended to be schools with relatively few poor and minority students. The inherent advantages of having student bodies that are predominantly middle or upper class are well-established, since those students tend on average to face fewer systemic barriers to learning.
The state’s much-criticized grading formula tries to offset these advantages somewhat by giving schools credit not just for how many students pass state exams but also how many made substantial improvements from one year to another.
Even so, schools still are mostly judged by how many students pass the exams. That gives a major edge to schools with fewer disadvantaged children. (Read the state’s detailed explanation of its school-grading formula.)
One caveat: On this list we’ve included elementary, middle and high schools along with K-8 schools, even though different schools are graded on slightly different criteria. (You can see the grade of every Florida public school here.)
We’ve ranked the schools by the percentage of total possible points that each school earned under the state’s grading system, which controls for the fact that some schools can earn more points than others. So here it is:
Palm Beach County’s highest-rated public schools
And here is a static image of the list…