Published: Jun 30, 2011 10:05 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 30, 2011 6:23 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla - More than two-thirds of Florida's public elementary and middle schools received an A or B grade on the state's annual assessment this year, the Department of Education said Thursday.
    
At the same time, few met the annual benchmarks for the percent of students reaching proficiency in math and reading under the federal No Child Left Behind law, which Congress has been struggling to reform and which both Democrats and Republicans agree needs to be fixed.
    
In all, 58 percent of elementary schools received an A, 72 more than the previous year. Fifty-nine percent of middle schools received the top grade, 14 fewer than in 2010. Just one percent of the schools received an F while five percent received a D.
    
The grades are primarily based on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the state's standardized assessment in reading, math, writing and science. The proficiency level for writing was raised, but the department said it didn't have a significant impact on the overall grades.
    
For the first time in the history of the Lee County School District, more than 90% schools graded achieved an “A” or “B”.  In addition, the District once again achieved an “A” grade for the third straight year. 

“Once again our students, teachers and schools have risen to the occasion,” said Dr. Constance Jones, Chief Academic Officer. “We’ve seen some fluctuation in the grades earned by some schools, so as we have done in years past, we’ll work to determine what we can do to help those schools. We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our principals and teachers – a job well done!”

Lee Charter Academy was the only school in Southwest Florida to earn an "F" grade.  down from an "A" last year.  Principal Dr. Shirley Chapman says the school received a sudden influx of new students mid-school year and that hurt their school's performance on the FCAT, but even she was surprised by the dramatic drop in school grades.

Collier County schools slipped in many areas.  Of the schools graded, 27 are high performing receiving an A or a B. Fifteen of them received an A, down from 20 last year.  12 received a B up from 6 last year. Seven received a C compared to 11 last year, and 5 received a D, up from two last year.  There are no F schools in Collier County.

The Collier County School District itself received an overall grade of "B", down from the "A" grade it received for two years in a row.

Charlotte County schools performed very well again this year, with all of its schools earning either an "A" or "B" grade.

Only elementary and middle school grades were released today. High school grades will be released later in the year.

To see how your child's school did check out the Florida Department of Education's website at:

http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/