Spanish River Tops School Grades for Boca

Spanish River High from Yamato; image by Google
Spanish River High from Yamato; image by Google

Spanish River had the highest numbers of high schools in Boca in the latest school grades. River edged out Boca High with slightly higher scores in English, Math, Science, and a bit more of a lead in Social Studies. Boca High made the overall score close with a strong performance in the “college and career acceleration” measure.
The top two schools in the county were Suncoast and Dreyfoos, both magnet programs. River topped the rest of the county, followed by Boca High, Jupiter, Wellington and West Boca High. Olympic Heights was not far behind in 9th place out of the 25 high schools in the county with much of the difference coming in the “acceleration” measure.
Both West Boca and Olympic trailed Spanish River and Boca High especially in the English and Math scores, while remaining closer in Science and Social Studies. Graduation rates at WBHS (87%) and OHHS (89%) also trailed the stronger two schools (94% each). The most obvious area for improvement for both West Boca and Olympic is in their math performance. West Boca High was 15 points behind Boca High even though they have similar SAT scores.
As with other data we’ve seen, schools with fewer “economically disadvantaged students” tend to score better. Olympic Heights did well considering it has the highest number in this category for Boca. Inlet Grove High, a charter school in Riviera Beach, had a very strong performance considering its population of economically challenged students.
We previously reported that West Boca and Olympic lag Boca High in AP performance. But this new data show West Boca very close to Boca High in acceleration, suggesting that WBHS is making up for APs with other areas, possibly AICE, dual enrollment, or career oriented classes.
Update: We received a comment and update from Olympic Heights Principal Dave Clark:

I read your article on school grades and thought that I would email you to correct an obvious error. In the article you listed the graduation rate for Olympic Heights as 89% and also said that we trailed both Boca and Spanish River (“stronger schools”?) that each had a 94% graduation rate. As you can see from the table below the graduation rates for the four Boca area High Schools are as follows.

  • Olympic Heights – 92.6%
  • Boca Raton – 91.6%
  • Spanish River – 90.3%
  • West Boca – 85.7%

Additionally, Olympic Heights had the highest graduation rate in the entire district for “At Risk” students with 87.5%. These are the students who enter ninth grade as a level 1 or 2 in both reading and math.
I appreciate all of the coverage that you give our kids, but please be accurate with the information that is printed.

Our data came from a spreadsheet on the Florida Department of Education school grades website. It appears that the state used 2014 graduation rates, ignoring the significant improvement demonstrated by Olympic Heights in 2015.

Middle School Grades: Eagles, Loggers and Omni

Principals Riopelle,  Chiapetta and Giblin of Omni, Eagles and Loggers.
Principals Riopelle, Chiapetta and Giblin of Omni, Eagles and Loggers.

Eagles Landing Middle School scored the highest of middle schools in Boca on the latest school grades. All four Boca schools received “A” grades.
Eagles ranked 5th in the county out of 35 middle schools, with Loggers’ Run at 9th, Omni at 10th and Boca Middle at 17th.
The top spot in the county went to Bak Middle, an all-magnet arts school in West Palm Beach. Wellington Landings was in second place and Don Estridge, another all-magnet program, was 3rd. Schools are ranked based on “Total Points Earned” which is driven primarily by test scores.
Eagles Landing did particularly well in Social Studies, while Loggers’ and Omni both had stronger math scores. Omni’s score was driven down by a particularly low score in Middle School Acceleration, “a measure for participation in and performance on high school EOC assessments and Industry Certification programs by students in middle school.”
As we saw with the elementary school grades, we see that higher performing schools tend to have smaller numbers of economically disadvantaged students. Western Pines Middle in West Palm Beach overperformed in that sense, coming in 4th just behind Don Estridge.
Our full spreadsheet is below:
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West Boca Elementary School Grades: Morikami Park & Waters Edge Lead

Principal Diane Rivelli-Schreiber of Waters Edge and Stacy Quiñones of Morikami Park.
Principals Diane Rivelli-Schreiber of Waters Edge and Stacy Quiñones of Morikami Park.

Morikami Park and Waters Edge Elementary ranked #2 and #3 in the county in the latest school grades. Other West Boca elementary schools that performed well include Del Prado and Calusa. All of the schools in West Boca ranked in the top half of the county, with all earning “A” grades except Coral Sunset and Hammock Pointe which received B’s.
Grades were released statewide. We extracted the data for Palm Beach County and are breaking it down by school level. This is our report on the elementary schools.
Map of schools in greater Boca Raton. Image and map data by Google.
Map of schools in greater Boca Raton. Image and map data by Google.

Out of 106 elementary schools, Binks Forest in Wellington scored a total of 268 points, edging out Morikami Park (266) for the #1 spot. Morikami Park is in West Delray just north of the Delray-Boca line and draws many of its students from West Boca. In the testing Morikami had higher English and Math scores, by just one point, while Binks was four points higher in Science. Morikami has slightly higher numbers of minority and economically disadvantaged students, so this is really a tie.
Waters Edge Elementary was not far behind the other two in all three testing areas (256), with East Boca’s Addison Mizner (252) right behind in fourth place, and Del Prado elementary (242) only a little further behind in 7th place.
Morikami Park is exceptional in part because it is a choice school. All of its students come for its IB program, which requires application through the school district. Most of the top scoring schools have full-time gifted programs that draw kids from feeders schools that don’t have gifted programs. This causes a larger difference in the scores as the strongest students are shifted from weaker schools. Binks Forest, Waters Edge, Del Prado, Addison Mizner and Whispering Pines all have full-time gifted programs. Calusa is a mix, with full-time gifted for Kindergarten through 2nd grade, and part-time from 3rd to 5th. Verde has part-time K-5th, which means some kids are still fed into the full-time programs. Sunrise Park, Sandpiper Shores, Coral Sunset and Hammock Pointe are all feeders into the other schools. See feeder document at bottom.
Other West Boca schools graded as follows:

  • Calusa Elementary, 229 points, 14th place
  • Verde Elementary, 223, 18th
  • Sunrise Park, 216, 24th
  • Whispering Pines, 211, 27th
  • Sandpiper Shores, 205, 32nd
  • Coral Sunset, 177, 48th
  • Hammock Pointe, 174, 49th

The data reflects that schools with fewer “economically disadvantaged students” generally performed better. Wynnebrook Elementary in West Palm Beach is a noticeable exception to that pattern, placing 25th in test scores despite having 92% of the students facing economic challenges.
Our full elementary school spreadsheet is below. We will report on middle and high schools soon.
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Below is the feeder plan for gifted elementary students.
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