Four local high schools receive grade of A

In this Aug. 16, 2012 file photo, parents fill out paperwork for their children during an orientation session at Buchholz High School in Gainesville. Buchholz was one of three high schools in Alachua County to receive an A grade from the state.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, December 21, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.

Local high schools received preliminary grades Friday, but state education officials are urging caution when comparing with last year’s grades because of changing standards.

In Alachua County, four high schools received A’s — Gainesville High School, Buchholz, Eastside and P.K. Yonge. Newberry, Santa Fe and Loften received B’s. Hawthorne Middle/High School got a D.

Interim Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart told reporters that changes to the calculation for the school grades make it difficult to compare this year’s marks to last year’s, but learning gains show improvement.

“Within our accountability system, our trends show that our performance has improved, and we continue to have more rigorous standards,” she said.

A federal graduation rate calculation and higher passing scores for the FCAT were among the changes this year, and next year will see more.

Stewart said different components of the calculation have changed and become more rigorous from year to year.

“I think it will be more difficult to earn the sorts of grades we earned this year,” she said.

The state eased the transition by preventing any school from dropping more than one letter grade.

Last year, Newberry, Loften, Buchholz and P.K. Yonge got A’s; GHS, Santa Fe and Eastside got B’s; and Hawthorne got a C.

According a the Florida Department of Education, the number of Florida high schools and combination high schools with an A grade rose from 148 last year to 231 this year.

School districts have an opportunity to appeal high school grades through Feb. 1.

Eileen Roy, chair of the Alachua County School District, said she was thrilled for the A schools and disappointed with Hawthorne’s grade.

“I was hoping they could come out better,” she said.

Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or

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