As the first semester of the 2014-2015 school year comes to a close, many locals are pondering the current state of our education system.

Let’s take a look at how Florida schools in general, and Clearwater High in particular, are fairing.

Tampa Bay Schools Receive Accolades

Local news station WTSP reported on the current efforts of many Tampa Bay school districts.

Some of the most noteworthy local findings include:
• Three school districts in the Tampa Bay area improved their graduation rate.
• Five Tampa Bay schools improved their overall school grade.
• Statewide graduation rates reached an 11-year high (just over 76%).
• In the last 10 years, the state’s graduation rate has increased 15%.
While the statewide graduation rate only increased 0.5% since last year, several individual schools saw drastic improvements (as much as 14%).

How does Clearwater High Rank?

Narrowing the scope of study to such a small population has both pros and cons. It allows us to carefully analyze the current situation at our local school, but it might also shine a spotlight on too many negative features—ignoring any positives.

For example, if we compare Clearwater High to the best school in the state (also ranked #6 in the nation), we might be discouraged by the current state of affairs.

Pine View School in Osprey boasts a 99% proficient level in reading and a 100% proficiency level in math. Clearwater High, on the other hand, maintains 38% reading proficiency and 32% math proficiency.

But when compared to other schools in the district, Clearwater doesn’t seem that far from the norm. In fact, Clearwater students have the same math proficiency rate as the school district average.

Again, when compared to Pine View’s college readiness index of 100, Clearwater High’s meager 27.4 index seems disappointing. However, the rate is higher than the district average of 26.

It should also be noted the two schools have a very different composition of student populations. At Pine View, the minority enrollment is only 22% and economically disadvantaged students make up a mere 11% of the student body. On the other hand, 46% of the student body at Clearwater High is minorities and 53% is economically disadvantaged.

Progress Being Made, But Still Room for Improvement

Half of all Clearwater High students have enrolled in the Advance Placement program. This shows students are focused on their future and improving their odds of success. However, only 40% of students pass the AP exams.

This single statistic highlights a very important issue: progress is being made, but there is still room for improvement.

With innovative programs like Get Paid for Grades, the local students have an even better chance of improving their post-high school careers—whether they enter the workforce or attend college. The more we encourage the local youth, the better their chance of success.