Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties’ school systems all performed better than average on state testing in English, mathematics, science and social studies, the Florida Department of Education revealed Friday.

In many cases, they scored among the highest of the 67 school districts in the state.

Okaloosa County schools performed fourth best in the state in taking its composite scores on all the tests, reported Steve Horton, a district assistant superintendent.

“It was a year of distractions in Okaloosa County,” Horton said. “When it came down to it, our teachers and students did what they do best and buckled down — they went to work. We’re just excited.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson at the beginning of the year over a child abuse scandal. She has appealed her removal, and the Senate will vote on it after Aug. 1.

Bill Emerson, the Santa Rosa County School District's assistant superintendent, praised his students for finishing from third to seventh in each subject area on the state assessments.

“Although we are very proud of our performance, we will continue working toward improving these accomplishments in the future,” Emerson said in a press release.

Walton County also attained high scores, surpassing Okaloosa in 6-12 grade science scores and posting higher scores than both Okaloosa and Santa Rosa in social studies for grades 4-12 and 7-12.

In eighth grade science, Algebra I and Geometry, Okaloosa students scored second in the state.

Santa Rosa performed well in English Language Arts, finishing with the third highest score in the state in grades 3-10; fourth best in grades 3-5; tied with Okaloosa for fourth highest in grades 6-8; and in a three way tie for second in grades 9-10.

Additionally, Santa Rosa students in grades 6-12 scored particularly well in science, earning an 85% for the third highest score in the state, just three points behind St. Johns County.

Okaloosa Superintendent Marcus Chambers said in a press release that his students’ scores in math and science gave them “an advantage over their peers” in their future pursuits.

“I know how critical math and science skills are for students pursuing college, careers in high-tech industries, or both,” Chambers said.

However, Okaloosa schools plan to focus on sixth grade math. It ranked 16th out of 67 districts, the lowest ranking on any of the 21 state tests.

To review the 2019 Florida Standards Assessments scores, go to the results page on the DoE website.