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31 Duval schools selected as “Schools of Excellence” in second year

Four more public schools in Duval County were named “Schools of Excellence” last week, allowing them more flexibility and autonomy in how they operate.

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has designated 31 Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) as “Schools of Excellence” for the 2017-18 school year. Schools of Excellence now make up about 1 in 6 of Duval County’s 196 public schools.

As DCPS works hard to earn an “A” district grade, this increase demonstrates exciting improvement.

The “Schools of Excellence” program was created in 2016 under House Bill 7069. To be eligible, a school must:

  1. Rank in the 80th percentile or higher for district schools with the same grade levels (i.e. elementary schools) in two of the last three school years, and

  2. Receive a grade of “A” or “B” in each of the three most recent school years.

Both traditional public schools and public charter schools can be selected. Once chosen, a school remains a School of Excellence for three years, and may then be renewed. A school loses its designation if it earns a “C” or below during the three-year period.

“Schools of Excellence” were created to give high-performing traditional public schools more control over how they operate, similar to the autonomy afforded to public charter schools.

Schools of Excellence can:

  • Make it easier for teachers to renew their teaching certificates by substituting one year of employment for 20 in-service points;

  • Have more flexibility in their curriculum, bypassing state requirements that require a minimum period of daily or weekly reading instruction;

  • Determine start and end times for the school day that are separate from school district policies and procedures;

  • Have more principal autonomy over personnel management, including hiring and budget decisions; and

  • Calculate class size based on the schoolwide average instead of a classroom count.

Across the state, there are now Schools of Excellence at 385 elementary schools, 127 middle schools, 104 high schools, and 102 combination schools. In Duval, these schools are:

  • Fishweir Elementary School

  • Dinsmore Elementary School

  • Atlantic Beach Elementary School

  • Hendricks Avenue Elementary School

  • San Pablo Elementary School

  • John Stockton Elementary School

  • J. Allen Axson Elementary School

  • Jacksonville Beach Elementary School

  • New Berlin Elementary School (new)

  • Bartram Springs Elementary

  • Seabreeze Elementary School

  • Kernan Trail Elementary School

  • Chimney Lakes Elementary School

  • Sabal Palm Elementary School

  • Neptune Beach Elementary School

  • Alimacani Elementary School

  • Mandarin Oaks Elementary School

  • Chets Creek Elementary School

  • Seaside Community Charter School (new)

  • Kirby-Smith Middle School

  • Julia Landon College Preparatory & Leadership Development School

  • Duncan U. Fletcher Middle School

  • James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School

  • LaVilla School of the Arts

  • Paxon School of Advanced Studies

  • Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

  • Stanton College Preparatory School

  • Sandalwood High School (new)

  • Duval Charter at Baymeadows

  • Darnell Cookman Middle and High School

  • Duval Charter School at Flagler Center (new)

The complete list of the selected Florida schools is available here.