Sanibel School has emerged as Florida's finest when it comes to elementary and middle school education according to the findings of the State's Department of Education. In a best-to-worst ranking system of the more than 3,000 schools throughout Florida, (an annual scoring mechanism with data made publicly available for the first time this year), Sanibel School scores surpassed all others in the state, in fact, was the only one among Lee and Collier County Schools to garner ranking in the Top-10.
But don't think that any of this is a news flash to School Principal Barbara Von Harten. She'll advise that for the last few years, when comparing her students' subject category scores, in terms of math, science and reading, The Sanibel has consistently ranked among the top. "We've always known that we're at the top, but now, because the DEA made the information public, everybody knows we're at the top too."
Principal Von Harten says she appreciates seeing acknowledgment given for the hard work of students and staff. While the ranking system uses a formula that takes into account percentages of students who score at grade level or better during FCAT examinations, it also examines learning gains made by those who fall into a category reflecting 25% of those earning the lowest scores. In the case of Sanibel School, Principal Von Harten says the learning gains made by these students help drive the school's distinction as best. "I'm happy to see the high scores students make in the subject categories, but I'm especially proud when I see the learning gains because it reflects how much we work to help students achieve their goals in education," says Von Harten.
For these students, the School provides "action plans" customized for their unique needs and curriculum objectives.
In terms of imparting any recipe for success, Principal Von Harten says Sanibel School benefits from a team effort. She credits students and their parents, staff and the community-at-large for creating the kind of environment that fosters excellence in education. "We have so many that are committed to our school... and have a whole community that rallies around us with support," says Von Harten.
She makes another comment that recognizes other recent distinctions in this community, which include, Sanibel Library ranked as the top in Florida, Sanibel beaches ranked best in the nation and favorite of Arthur Frommer, and add to the list, Sanibel School.
Von Harten observes, "With news like this, I think everyone will want to come see our beaches and bring their children to school here too."