SEBRING - Sebring High School repeated with a B accountability grade for the 2012-13 school year after posting its first B the prior year, according to data released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education.
Avon Park High maintained its C grade while Lake Placid High slipped from a B to a C accountability grade.
Overall, it was a relatively good showing for the district's high schools compared to many years of D and C grades including the school years of 2009-10 and 2005-06 when all three schools had D grades.
But C grades don't compare well with the statewide improvements in high school grades as Tuesday's report shows a high percentage of A grades (48 percent) and B grades (30 percent). Only 17 percent of the high schools received a C grade with 3 percent recording a D and 2 percent receiving an F.
The FDOE reported that since 2010-11, the number of A high schools and combination schools jumped by 92 schools, an increase of 17 percentage points.
The increase in the number of A schools came about even as the grading formula became more rigorous, the FDOE notes.
As more schools earn grades of A and B the grading scale is adjusted upward to encourage continued improvement. Based on the rule adopted in 2011 and since more than 75 percent of high schools earned an A or B, the grading scale for high schools will be adjusted upward for the 2013-14 school grades.
In a press release, Highlands County Superintendent of Schools Wally Cox said "Overall, our high schools did well and we are proud of their accomplishments. School and district staff are working together to make changes in instructional programs and strategies as needed for continued improvement."
Many Heartland-area high schools received a C grade, including the high schools in DeSoto, Hardee and Okeechobee counties and the high schools in Haines City and Lake Wales. Bartow High School received a B grade.
The FDOE advises that the results are preliminary pending an appeal window that ends January 22.
The high school grades are based 50 percent on student performance and learning gains on assessment tests and 50 percent on other components such as participation in accelerated classes, the graduation rate and college readiness in reading and math.
The grading formula point totals for all three Highlands County high schools were in the middle range of the grades the schools received, meaning no school was close to achieving a higher grade nor close to receiving a lower grade. For example, Sebring High amassed 1,007 points in the grading formula, which is near the middle of the B-grade point scale of 990-1,049.