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County scores 5 B’s in 2010 high school grades

MANATEE -- Manatee County recorded no A’s, five B’s, a C and a D in high school grades for 2009-2010, according to state figures released today.

Bayshore, Manatee, Lakewood Ranch, Braden River and Manatee School for the Arts high schools all earned B’s in the grades released today by the Florida Department of Education.

Palmetto recorded a C and Southeast recorded a D. There were no failing schools.

Last school year, two Manatee schools scored an A -- Lakewood Ranch and Manatee School for the Arts. The biggest gainer this year was Bayshore High that improved from a D to a B. Palmetto also improved from a D last year to a C. Southeast dropped from a C to a D.

A new high school grading system was used for the 2009-2010 school year where student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or FCAT is only 50 percent of the school grade.

The remaining 50 percent is based on the school’s graduation rate, performance and participation of students in advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs, dual enrollment, advanced international certificate of education and industry certification.

Other factors that comprise the non-FCAT score include the postsecondary readiness of the students as measured by the SAT, ACT, or College Placement Test.

The high school graduation rate of at-risk students and the growth or decline in this data from year to year is also considered.

“I would like to congratulate our students, teachers and staffs for producing these encouraging results,” said Superintendent Tim McGonegal. “The changes in the grading system are new to all of us and we are continuing to learn how to maximize our results in all areas.”

Gov. Charlie Crist praised the overall performance of the state’s high schools.

Of Florida’s 470 graded public high schools, 140, or 30 percent, earned an A under the new grading system, an increase of 46 schools compared to last year.

Also, 192, or 41 percent, earned a B grade, an increase of 81 schools compared to last year.

A grade of C was earned by 69 schools, or 15 percent, a decrease of 54 schools from last year.

A grade of D was recorded by 58 schools, or 12 percent, a decrease of 62 schools from last year.

There were 11 F schools in Florida in 2010, a decrease of 12 schools compared to last year.

“These are terrific results for our high schools, providing very clear evidence that they have stepped up their efforts to offer demanding coursework for their students and graduate more of them prepared for college or a career,” Crist said in a statement.