The Florida Department of Education announced on Tuesday that Florida’s high schools reached record high levels in the 2009-2010 school year.

A department press release indicates that 71 percent of the state’s 470 graded public high schools earned an A or B in the 2009-2010 school year.

The press release adds that:

  • 140 [schools] earned an “A” (30 percent), an increase of 46 schools compared to last year.
  • 192 earned a “B” (41 percent), an increase of 81 schools compared to last year.
  • 69 earned a “C” (15 percent), a decrease of 54 schools compared to last year.
  • 58 earned a “D” (12 percent), a decrease of 62 schools compared to last year.
  • 11 earned an “F” (2 percent), a decrease of 12 schools compared to last year.

The press release credits state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, other legislators and Department of Education officials for the design of a new grading system for high schools introduced through Senate bill 1908 during the 2008 legislative session.

Under the new grading system, 50 percent of a high school’s grade is based on the performance of their students on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and the remaining 50 percent is based on a school’s graduation rate, its increased student participation and performance in advanced coursework, its college and career prep programs and its  graduation rate of at-risk students.

The Sun Sentinel reports today:

High schools in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are thriving under a new revamped state grading system.

Schools that received As, or improve at least one letter grade from the previous year, receive state reward money of $75 per student. That means $150,000 for a 2,000-student high school. The money is usually divvied out as bonuses to school employees.

School grades are closely watched by industries, homeowners and real estate agents. Industries look at the quality of schools when deciding whether to locate, officials say. And a school’s rating can affect property values in surrounding neighborhoods.

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