A record number of schools in Louisiana earned an "A" this year, according to school report cards released Monday by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White is applauding the efforts of public schools after announcing that 36 percent of schools earned an an A or B letter grade, which is a 28 percent increase from last year. White says a higher graduation rate among high schools helped many schools receive higher grades:

You also see at the high school level, in particular, a strong increase in test scores. You see at the elementary level a 2% increase in test scores, too. Not as big, but big. And it's because people are focused on what needs to be done; they're accountable for producing it and they're getting it done.

The news was not only good for public schools statewide, but also for schools a part of the Lafayette Parish School System. Officials say they got a "B" ranking by the state Department of Education. Lafayette Parish Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper had this to say about the good news:

This represents the hard work of our parents, students, teachers, principals and the reorganization of our central office to be more supportive of our schools--specifically the creation of an accountability and evaluation department. Tom Spencer, director of accountability and evaluation, was able to focus on the data toensure that it was reported accurately, remaining in continued contact withLDOE to ensure corrections were made as needed.

School officials attributed the success as a testament to progress made by Cooper's "100% In, 100% Out Turn Around Plan." But they say there is more work to do to transform the district into an "A" district.

Even the negative news released Monday had some positivity that came with it. Scores showed 42 more schools statewide receiving an "F" letter grade. 157 schools received an "F" this year compared to 115 last year. But White says more "F" grades were given out, because schools had to score higher to receive a passing grade:

Remember, had the bar been kept the same as it was last year, you would have had 70 "F" schools. Last year, you had 115. So, what you really have is fewer schools performing at that "F" level as it was last year.