District Grade Remains an “A”

Walton County School District Remains an “A” – Improves Grade Ranking 

July 11, 2022

The Florida Department of Education released the 2021-2022 data that calculates school grades, district grades, and school improvement ratings.  Florida has issued school grades to its schools since 1999.  School grades are calculated based on proficiency and learning gains in core subject areas, such as reading and math, as well as additional components, including graduation rate and college and career acceleration.

Walton County, as a district, once again scored an “A” rating, which it has now been since 2018. This is the first time since grading began that this has occurred in four (4) consecutive grading periods. According to the state’s data release, Walton ranks #3 of 67 districts in district school grade calculation. The district improved by two (2) rankings from the 2020-2021 school year.

Superintendent A. Russell Hughes was elated upon hearing about the results and improvements in the district grades.  He stated, “After receiving assessment scores just one week ago, I am in awe once again by the work of our schools’ performances that in turn brought about this A+ designation. The work we have done has been intentional, supported by our School Board and implemented in leadership throughout. Every component within the Walton County School District family – administrators who led with fervor, teachers who taught with fidelity, students who responded with tenacity, and community members who supported with compassion – helped bring about these unprecedented, astonishing results. I am just so proud to work alongside these EPIC people. How wonderful it is to present our community with world-class results, right here in Walton County.”  For the first time ever since grading began, all Walton County schools are graded “A” or “B”.  Superintendent Hughes continued, “This proves that your Walton County School District was whole-heartedly invested in moving ‘4wRd’ regardless of the challenges faced, to include an unforeseen international pandemic!”

Most notable of improvements were Maude Saunders Elementary and Paxton School. Last year, Maude Saunders Elementary was a “C” school. This year, they earned the grade of “B”. This is a huge accomplishment for the school, which had scored a “D” during the last decade. Maude Saunders Principal of three years, Mrs. Cindy Neale responded to the results with a quote from Vince Lombardi, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual”, then continued on to say, “Goals are achieved by having a positive mindset, creating a climate and culture built on respect, trust, high expectations, goal setting, intentional planning with the belief we can achieve our goals TOGETHER.” Paxton School also increased a letter grade from a “B” to an “A”. When Principal Brent Jones heard the news, he said, “I am so proud of all the faculty, staff, students, and parents for all of their hard work. I am so grateful to be a part of the Paxton Family!” Additional schools maintained their school grade, but increased their points, such as Freeport High School, which moved from 663 to 718 points, remaining an “A” - one of the highest public-school numeric results in the state of Florida.

The following are 2021-2022 school grade results for Walton County. Eight (8) schools were designated as an “A”:  Mossy Head School, West DeFuniak Elementary, Dune Lakes Elementary, Van R. Butler Elementary, Emerald Coast Middle, Freeport High, South Walton High, and Paxton School.  Five (5) schools are designated as a “B”:  Freeport Elementary, Maude Saunders Elementary, Freeport Middle, Walton Middle, and Walton High School. Walton Initiative for Success in Education (WISE) received a school rating of “Maintaining”. 

Accolades such as this could not be achieved without the strategic and intentional work done by our administrators, teachers, staff, and students.

It is exciting and worth celebrating to know that Walton County School District is becoming recognizable across the state and nation. As always, we will continue to strive towards being the number one school district in the state of Florida – we are well on our way!


Congratulations to all!


For more information on the Walton County School District, please visit https://www.walton.k12.fl.us/.  The reports and guides to school grade calculations can be found at https://www.fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/.