State report cards show Zephyrhills schools have room for improvement

Pasco County Schools maintained a B grade for the 2021-2022 school year according to the district grades and school grades released Thursday by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). Pasco has maintained a B grade since 2017.

While the district boasts a B, schools in Zephyrhills have lower grades.

West Zephyrhills Elementary was given an F from the Florida Department of Education. West was a C school in 2019. RB Stewart Middle received a D from the FDOE and was also a C school in 2019.

Woodland Elementary, Chester Taylor Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Centennial Middle and Zephyrhills High School all received C grades from the state.

Neighboring schools to the north received C grades or lower. Pasco Elementary received a D and Pasco Middle earned a C. According to the DOE a lack of data resulted in Pasco High School not receiving a grade from the state.

To the west, it appears the grades were higher. Wiregrass Ranch High School received an A. Wesley Chapel High School, Thomas Weightman Middle School and Wesley Chapel Elementary School earned B grades.    

The overall picture for school grades in Pasco and statewide this year is a vast improvement over last year’s potential grades, and they come after more than two years of disruption to classrooms statewide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of those unprecedented disruptions, testing was suspended in 2020 and school grades were not calculated. In 2021 testing resumed, and the DOE gave school districts the option of declining their school grades.

“I’m pleased to see what our schools have accomplished, especially considering the challenges of the past two years,” said Kurt Browning, Pasco Superintendent of Schools. “All credit goes to the students, their teachers, and all the administrators who have worked so hard. Now that we have the test scores and school grades, our teachers and administrators are laser focused on the data and planning for greater accomplishments next year.”

More than half of Pasco schools earned A and B grades, and 85 percent of all Pasco schools earned an A, B, or C grade. Eighteen of the 22 schools that earned A grades this year maintained those grades from 2019, the last full release of school grades. Two schools improved from B to A. Two schools, the new Starkey Ranch K-8 and the Dayspring Jazz charter school, both earned an A grade in their first year. Other highlights this year include Fivay High School, which earned its way off the state’s “school improvement support” list by posting a C grade, up from a D grade in 2019 and a potential D grade in 2021.

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