Northeast Florida High Schools Riding High on New Grading System

Friday, January 6, 2012

For the second consecutive year high schools in Northeast Florida rode a wave of school grade improvement largely thanks to a formula that considers more than the state’s assessment test.

Because of the new system, it was a year of several firsts for schools in the region, according to the data released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education.

Ribault High School earned its first C grade.Palatka High School earned its first B grade. And Middleburg High School and Frank H. Peterson earned their first ever A grades. Peterson’s jump from a D to an A was the greatest improvement in the region.

“You could not ask for a place with more excitement and more energy,” said Peterson Principal Cathy Barnes. “We announced it on the intercom and you could hear the students screaming up the hallways.”

That was pretty much the sentiment throughout Northeast Florida as the region increased the number of its A and B high schools while dramatically dropping the number of D high schools.

Only one high school in Northeast Florida earned an F this year: Andrew Jackson High School.

Previously, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores and learning gains were used to determine high school grades. But the FCAT is primarily given in ninth and 10th grade, which meant only younger students in a high school determined the grade.

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