Hawthorne Middle/High’s Fate Still Undecided With Initial Release Of 2018 School Accountability Report

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Hawthorne Middle/High School students, teachers, and parents were supposed to learn Wednesday whether their school would open its doors for the next year, or any more after that.

They were among the 29 schools across the state facing closure or new management this year if they failed to produce a school rating of C or higher.

When the Florida Department of Education released its annual school accountability report Wednesday afternoon, Hawthorne was one of more than 80 schools across the state to receive an “I” for incomplete. 

Andrey Walden, spokeswoman for Florida Department of Education, wrote in an email that a school or district grade will be revoked and marked as incomplete (I) if the data doesn’t accurately represent the progress of the school or district.

This could happen if the percent of students tested is less than 95 percent of the schools’ eligible student population or if the “validity or integrity of the test administration” is under investigation for security violations under Florida statutes.

The department is “doing some additional review of the data for both Buchholz High School and Hawthorne Middle/High School,” Alachua County district spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said. “We don’t have a timeline for when that will be completed.”

Hawthorne, according to state records, was one of only two schools in its position that chose to pass or close, rather than give up control of the school to a charter or other management. Oscar Patterson Elementary in Bay County also chose to pass or close, and it earned a C in this year’s report, meaning it will remain open.

Even if Hawthorne does not end up earning a C grade, Alachua County Superintendent of Public Schools Karen Clarke is trying to work with the state to develop a contingency plan. She’s making a presentation to the Florida Board of Education within the next month to talk about the school’s plans, which would involve working with the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center to continue helping students’ test scores.

Johnson said the district expects Buchholz and Hawthorne’s final grades by July 31 — at the latest.

“I can’t imagine it would talk DOE longer than that to complete it, but either way, we’ll be ready for the school year,” Johnson said.

About Luke Sullivan

Luke is a reporter for WUFT News and can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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