Sure, the Manatee County school district is mired in a financial quagmire, but students and teachers are enjoying additional accomplishments on the academic front this week. Four of seven high schools earned A grades and the others scored B's, the Florida Department of Education announced.
This marks the first time all seven schools earned an A or B, a fantastic achievement that beats another first from last year -- the first time all seven earned an A, B or C.
Those 2013 High School Accountability Grades come fresh on the heels of the district's strong and improving marks in graduation and dropout rates, with Manatee besting the statewide average in the former.
These citations of the upward trajectory in academics come at a great time -- a Christmas present of sorts that puts the focus on education instead of that other stuff.