published: Sunday, December 23, 2012
High schools improve their grades
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Florida released the 2012 high school grades Friday. The news is good in Highlands County.
Avon Park raised its grade to a "C", after a decade of "D"s.
Sebring High School earned its first "B", and Lake Placid High School maintained a "B" for the second year in a row. Lake Placid's "B" in 2011 was the first earned by any Highlands County high school.
Andy Tuck, chairman of The School Board of Highlands County, was pleased and proud. "I think principals and teachers have done an awesome job," he said. "Lake Placid maintained its 'B' and Avon Park and Sebring both increased a letter grade. All the teachers and staff are to be commended."
Improving schools has been a major goal at the federal, state and district levels for more than a decade. Grading was tightened, new assessments put into place, teachers held to higher standards and more strictly scrutinized.
While there has been controversy over unfunded mandates passed down from the state legislature, the federal Race To The Top program helped fund several major changes, particularly in teacher evaluation and development.
Of the 16 elementary, middle and high schools, seven are "C" schools; four are "B" schools; three are "A" schools; and only one, Memorial Elementary - the county's newest public school, is a "D" school.
Five schools maintained the same grade as the year before and four schools improved a grade. Seven schools lost a grade.
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