By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- The Florida Department of Education released its grades of individual high schools in St. Lucie County recently, and the results show the majority of the schools showed improvement. No high school scored below a "C" grade.
According to a press release from the St. Lucie County School District, Lincoln Park Academy and St. Lucie West Centennial earned "A" grades for the 2011-12 year.
One school, Treasure Coast High School in Port St. Lucie, received a "B" grade, and the rest of the high schools, which include Fort Pierce Westwood, Fort Pierce Central and Port St. Lucie High School, all received "C" grades.
This was the first year St. Lucie West Centennial earned an "A" grade.
"The district plans to appeal the 'C' grade for Fort Pierce Central High School because the initial review suggests that all the pertinent data has not been considered," said Janice Karst, director of communications for the school district.
The school received a "B" grade last year.
These were the first official high-school grades released since the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test was designed to be more difficult than in years past. In addition, the scoring rubric was at a higher standard. The combination that resulted set a new baseline to measure student growth, but it is one that can't be compared to previous years. The formula to determine a school's grade also incorporates other student achievements, such as graduation rates and advanced course work.
"These improvements reflect the hard work of students, teachers, administrators and parents to focus on the core subjects," said Michael Lannon, St. Lucie School Superintendent, in a prepared statement.
"We are so proud of how our teachers and students have responded to the challenges of increased rigor in the state measures."
But next year's grades might not be as high, according to Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, who spoke during a conference call with news media about the release of the grades.
She pointed out biology end-of-year exams weren't included in this year's assessments, but will be factored into next year's grades.
Over the entire state, the number of high schools receiving "A" grades increased from 148 to 231, and the number of "F" schools dropped from six last year to three this year.
"Overall, our high schools increased performance," Ms. Stewart said.
The school district has until Feb. 1 to file any appeals.