Collier County schools get top marks in state assessment

Published: July 7, 2022 4:04 PM EDT
Updated: July 7, 2022 4:50 PM EDT

For the first time since before the pandemic, schools are getting a comprehensive look at how their students are doing, and Collier County is one of the best.

The Florida Department of Education gave Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) an ‘A.’

It is the 5th year in a row that Collier County schools have received an ‘A,’ and they were the only Southwest Florida school district to receive the high mark this year.

Collier County schools are also tied for 5th overall in the state.

School Board Chair Jen Mitchell isn’t hiding her pride. “I think it speaks to the fact that we have the hardest working administrators, teachers in the state of Florida,” said Mitchell.

CCPS has continued its streak of ‘A’ grades as a district since 2017. Reading and math scores both went up too.

Collier County Superintendent Kamela Patton said she’s especially proud of this, given that 55% of students come from homes where English is not the first language.

Patton said recognizing which students may need more help in specific areas and getting that help is a big part of Collier’s success.

“It’s really that careful, keen look about which kids need which kind of help to ensure that access and opportunity for all of our kids,” said Patton.

Kindergarten teacher Ashley Saldarriaga, once a Collier student herself, knows some of her students’ struggles well.

“It’s a little bit easier for me to build a relationship because I come from a very similar demographic. So I understand the trial, the trials that they go through,” said Saldarriaga.

Saldarriaga also knows that no trials are too great for those willing to learn. “I’ve always loved the idea that education is the way out. If you don’t know something, learn it. Knowledge is nothing but access accessible to everybody. You just have to want to go out and get it,” said Saldarriaga.

With all this celebration, there is anticipation over the new curriculum in the coming year. Patton admits it will be an uphill battle, but the district is ready for one.

Lee and Charlotte counties both got a ‘B’ from the state.

If you want to know how the Florida Department of Education grades the schools and what criteria they look for, you can find that information in the chart below.

An overview of how the Florida Department of Education grades schools in the state. (Credit: Florida Department of Education)

You can learn more about how each school did by visiting the Florida Department of Education website.