Santa Rosa County (FL) District Schools is a high-performing rural district of about 28,000 students that stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to Alabama. The district has 33 schools, ranks in the top 6 or 7 in every category in the state, and is growing by 400 to 500 students per year.

Biggest challenge:

“In Florida, as in many states, we’d been given mandate after mandate about standardized testing, teacher evaluations, etc.,” says Bill Emerson, assistant superintendent. The district suffered from loss of teacher morale and decided to focus on improving style and pedagogy. “We needed to get our students working toward...

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  • About the Author:

    Ellen Ullman is editorial director, content services, for eSchool Media.