WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Garner Elementary School in Winter Haven found a fun way to celebrate improving its school grade.

  • Principal Qvonda Birdsong, employees hold mock funeral
  • Garner Elementary improved its 'F' grade
  • Birdsong cites structure, accountability for success

The school had received two straight "F" grades but improved to a "C" grade last school year under new principal Qvonda Birdsong. 

Birdsong and school employees held a mock funeral with singing, testimonials and even pallbearers for a man named "Fred." The "F" in Fred stands for the "F" grades. 

A mock gravestone and sign that reads "Here Lies Forever Dead Fred" were placed near a sidewalk on campus. Students walk by it every day.

Birdsong said she attempts to make school fun for teachers and students, but she credits structure for the school turnaround. 

"Because I hold kids accountable," she said. "I think that's what you should do. And so they do understand that yes, Ms. Birdsong is going to be the fun principal. She's going to give us incentives. She's going to high five us and have fun but we better behave.”

Birdsong believes it all makes for a safe learning environment for students.

"Kids like structure. Kids need structure," she said. 

Birdsong is hoping the school will be able to have another "funeral" as it buries the "C" grade because it improved to an "A."