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Williamstown High School is in elite company after being recognized as the 18th best high school in the state by a national publication.
U.S. News evaluated nearly 22,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college, and other factors primarily for the 2009-10 school year.
Nationally, only 2 percent were awarded gold, 7 percent awarded silver and 13 percent bronze. Seventy-eight percent of the evaluated schools did not receive medals.
Among the U.S. News Best High Schools in Kentucky in 2012, there are five gold medal schools, 13 silver medal schools and 40 bronze medal schools.
Williamstown High School, which ranked 1,940 nationally, was given a silver medal.
This is the second time the high school has been recognized by U.S. News.
A couple years ago, WHS received a bronze medal rating.
Grant County High School, which has more than twice the enrollment, was recognized with a bronze medal this year.
“These kind of things help validate that the things you are doing are moving you in the right direction,” said Williamstown Independent Superintendent Sally Skinner. “It’s putting you in an elite group of high schools. Only 18 across the state were ranked nationally and we were one of those 18.”
U.S. News selected the rankings through a three-step process evaluating each school:
• Step 1: Attains performance levels that exceed statistical expectations given the school’s relative level of student poverty, as measured by state accountability test scores for all the school’s students in the core subjects of reading and math.
• Step 2: Achieves proficiency rates on state tests for their least advantaged student groups (e.g., black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students) that exceed state averages.
• Step 3: Prepares its students for college, as measured by student participation in and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.
Schools with highest unrounded college readiness index values were numerically ranked from No. 1 to No. 500 and were the gold medal winners.
The next group of high schools with the highest unrounded college readiness indexes, which included Williamstown, were numerically ranked No. 501 through No. 2,008 and were the silver medal winners.
The college readiness index for WHS was 17.2 compared to 12.3 for GCHS, according to the data.
An additional 2,869 high schools that passed the first two steps in the methodology were awarded bronze medals and are listed alphabetically.
A bronze medal school either does not offer any AP or IB courses, or its college readiness index was less than the median of 16.3 needed to be ranked silver.
To be mentioned among a small number of schools means a lot, said Skinner.
“For me, personally, it’s huge,” she said. “It makes me very proud of our students and our staff who work so hard to implement things to improve academic achievement. That’s not always easy.”