“All the superintendents are offered the option of receiving a courtesy call about the schools’ grade,” said Holmes. “When I heard the news that FAMU-DRS had jumped from an F to a C, I was extremely excited. I was excited for the faculty and staff at DRS and excited for FAMU, but most importantly, I was excited for the students who worked so hard to prepare for the exam.”
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is part of Florida’s overall plan to increase student achievement by implementing higher standards. FCAT is used to report educational status and annual progress for individual students, schools, districts, and the state. Schools are graded based on the percent of students meeting high standards and the percent of students who make learning gains.
“I am proud of the progress made by the faculty, students, administration,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “The students were provided with the support they needed to improve their overall performance. I will continue to provide full support to DRS as we work to make it one of the county’s leading schools.”
According to Holmes, the biggest influence on the passage rate at FAMU-DRS came from the involvement of students at the Saturday tutorial sessions over a seven-week period. Students were taught the fundamentals necessary to be successful on the Florida Comprehension and Assessment Test (FCAT).
While Holmes is proud of the move from an F to a C, he says this is only the tip of the iceberg.
This fall, Holmes plans to implement additional programs and services to address each student’s need by tapping FAMU-DRS’ human and financial resources at the university and community level. While this summer he has been busy enlisting the aid of alumni, local businesses and community partners to make donations of $1,000 to go toward the FAMU-DRS ?Student Achievement Initiative Campaign in line with a promise made to students who passed the exam.
Holmes also has committed to providing Pay for Performance (PFP) incentives for all full-time employees at FAMU-DRS based on the district's overall performance on the FCAT. Since DRS earned a "C," he is continuing to enlist funds to reward all full-time employees with $500.
In addition to student and faculty incentives, FAMU-DRS is hosting two Student Recruitment Days on July 15 and 16, in an effort to increase the enrollment. These activities will be held at the FAMU-DRS Media Center from noon to 6 p.m.
This fall, academic and recognition programs will be implemented, such as the awarding of state-of-the art laptop computers for elementary students, innovative curriculum titled "Gear Up" for middle school students and a rigorous Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) Academy offered through Kaplan Testing Service for high school students. Scholarships will also be available for qualifying students.