15 of 23 Duval high schools earn As, Bs

48% of Florida high schools earn A grade

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Ten of 23 high schools in Duval County received an A grade for the 2012-13 school year, up from eight last year, the Florida Department of Education announced Wednesday.

Five schools earned Bs, and seven scored Cs. Raines High School got the lowest grade with a D. There were no D grades last year.

Ribault and A. Phillip Randolph earned Bs, while Ed White, Forrest and Andrew Jackson received Cs. Those schools were on the "intervene" list in years past.

Lee High School made the biggest jump in grades, going from a C to an A.

Meanwhile, Raines has a new principal this year who's determined to make changes. He said that will be done with reading scores.

"Raines will be turned around. Raines is already in the process of being turned around," Principal Vincent Hall said. "Our students are following my vision, making sure they are college and career ready, and to become college and career ready you have to be proficient readers."

Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti discussed the high school grades Wednesday afternoon.

"When you combine A and B high schools, we have the highest number of A-B high schools that we've ever had. Now nearly 70 percent of high schools are A and B," Vitti said. "This work is hard work but it's not complicated work. It's having a great principal in every school and a great teacher in every classroom. We are moving in that direction."

In St. Johns County, four of its high schools received an A, Bartram Trail, Creekside, Ponte Vedra, and Nease high schools. Two received a grade of B, St. Augustine and Pedro Menendez high schools.

In Clay County, four of its seven high schools received an A, while three scored a B.

DOCUMENT: List of grades for each NE Fla. high school
DOCUMENT: Grades for all Florida high schools
MORE ONLINE: Florida Department of Education

"In the past few weeks we have received good news in three areas," said Superintendent Charlie Van Zant. "Teacher evaluations spotlighted our outstanding teachers, graduation rates were released showing a substantial increase in graduation rates, and now good news about high school grades. This is the result of a team effort district wide and the hard work of teachers, students and support employees."

Orange Park High School went from a B last year to an A this year.

"It was a team effort that required perseverance. We are so excited that all the qualifying factors came together this year," said Principal Treasure Pickett.

Nassau County had two high schools receive As and two score Bs.

A record number of Florida high schools and combination schools earned an A, with 240 schools -- or 48 percent -- making the highest grade.

Since 2010-11, the number of A high schools and combination schools jumped by 92 schools, an increase of 17 percentage points. The results are preliminary pending an appeal window that ends Jan. 22.

Thirty percent of Florida's 502 high schools earned Bs, 17 percent scored Cs, 3 percent received Ds, and 2 percent -- eight high schools -- were given Fs, up from three last year.

"With more high schools earning As, it is clear that our teachers are succeeding in providing Florida students with a quality education," Gov. Rick Scott said. "A great education is the cornerstone of Florida's future -- and that's why we fought to provide $480 million for teacher pay raises."

"Thank you to Florida's teachers, parents and school leaders for their outstanding commitment to continuing academic success," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "Today's results show that more students are ready for college or a career than ever. I am proud of the work our educators are doing every day in the classroom to prepare them for success."

Last year, nearly half of Florida's high schools received an A grade for the 2011-12 school year, despite the implementation of a more rigorous graduation rate.

Florida released grades for the rest of its public schools over the summer amid a controversy over the accuracy of the grading formula.

The state has put a safety net provision in place that prevents a school from dropping more than one letter grade in a year.

The state grades its high schools based on student performance on tests, as well as graduation rates and other factors.

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