Nearly half of Florida high schools get A grade

34 Miami-Dade, 25, Broward schools get A grades

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Nearly half of Florida's high schools are getting an A grade for the 2012-13 school year, including Miami Northwestern Senior High School.

The grades released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education show a slight increase in the number of A graded schools.

But the number of D and F rated schools also went up. There were eight high schools that received F grades as opposed to just three in 2012.

Florida released grades for the rest of its public schools over the summer amid a controversy over the accuracy of the grading formula.

The state has a safety net provision in place that prevents a school from dropping more than one letter grade a year.

The state grades its high schools based on student performance on tests, as well as graduation rates and other factors.

In Miami-Dade County, 34 schools earned A grades. Miami Northwestern Senior High School received its first "A."

"Miami Northwestern's waited a long time -- a very long time -- to be recognized for what it does academically," said principal Wallace Aristide. "When we got here seven years ago, there were so many nonbelievers and we've made believers out of them all."

"As Mr. Aristide grew into place, you saw that he started motivating students and and students were continually motivated to do great things, said Star Walden.

In Broward County, 25 schools earned A grades.

"We are incredibly proud of our high school grades. While we know there is more work to do, these results signify that we are on the right path for increasing student academic achievement," said Superintendent Robert Runcie. "I commend our teachers, administrators and students for their hard work and dedication. We will continue to focus on ensuring all students are college and career ready."  

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.