ALACHUA – School grades came out on Dec. 18 and Santa Fe High School sat among the top schools in Alachua County.

The high school, which was recently touted for its jump in graduation rates, received an A for its academic performance in the last year, according to preliminary high school grades released by the Department of Education.

The school went from a 75 percent graduation rate to an 84 percent senior graduation rate between 2011 and 2012.

Santa Fe High School principal Beth LeClear, has worked to bring the school grade from a B to an A over the last year by enforcing a closer relationship between advisors and students.

“Teachers needed things, so whatever teachers needed, we provided.”

LeClear said she knew that the high school was capable to be more than a B school. Her goal was to work with seniors that we in danger of not graduating. She said that many of the students at Santa Fe High School sat down and planned their academic calendars.

“When I got here, I said, ‘this is not a B school, this is an A school,'” she said.

The importance of earning an “A” has been great on the school, LeClear said. In a year where graduation rates are the highest in the county, $40,000 grants for new books and technology are awarded, and now an “A” for the school marks a great end to the year for Santa Fe High School, she added.

Only 240 schools in the state earned an A grade. Three of those schools came from Alachua County. Other than Santa Fe, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville and Newberry High School also earned an A.

Hawthorne Middle/High School got an F this year, one of eight in the state.  

The community in Alachua has been a big factor in the success of Santa Fe High School, LeClear said.

“This community is so supportive of our school and our students,” LeClear said.

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