VERNON — When the Department of Education released the high school scores in December, Vernon High School received an A grade for the 2013 school year, while Chipley High School received a B grade.


VERNON — When the Department of Education released the high school scores in December, Vernon High School received an A grade for the 2013 school year, while Chipley High School received a B grade.



“This has never happened before in any Washington District high school and consequently (Vernon is) the only school in our district to earn an "A" school grade,” said VHS Principal Brian Riviere in a letter to the Washington County News.



Vernon High School improved from a C grade in 2012 to earn it’s A grade in 2013, while Chipley High School received a B grade in 2012 as well as 2013.



Vernon also posted a four-year graduation rate of 83 percent, according to the state DOE reports, while Chipley High had a graduation rate of 75 percent.



Nearly half of Florida high schools — 48 percent — earned an A grade on the state’s report card, according to a report Florida Department of Education released Dec. 18.



That’s up from 31 percent of high schools earning a top grade two years ago. More than 80 percent of Florida high schools earned an A or B grade, according to the website stateimpact.npr.org.



That performance triggered automatic changes to the school grading system next year, raising the number of points required to earn each grade. This is the first time the 2011 State Board of Education rule has been required.



The number of high schools earning an F grade also increased, to eight from three a year ago. A “safety net” approved by the State Board of Education prevented seven schools from losing more than a letter grade this year. Two of those schools would have earned an F grade without the safety net rule.



The high school grades added three new criteria this year: Growth in test scores of the lowest-scoring 25 percent of students at each school; requiring at least 25 percent of students score 3 or higher on the FCAT reading test; and biology end-of-course test results.