West Union, North Adams, and Manchester honored –
By Patricia Beech –
Great schools don’t just happen – they are created through the combined energy and efforts of focused teachers, principals, students, parents, volunteers, school boards, administrators, and communities. It is this contribution of the human element that raises the educational bar and elevates schools to the level of excellence.
Locally, the end result of such efforts has distinguished three Adams County communities that are successfully achieving a higher standard of performance in their high schools. Manchester High School, North Adams High School, and West Union High School were recently named Bronze Medal Schools by the 2016 U.S. News and World Report’s Best High School Rankings at both the national and state level.
“This is the fifth consecutive year our school has received a Bronze Medal ranking,” said Manchester Principal Jamie Wilkins. “This award is the result of phenomenal work by the teachers and staff.“ Manchester High School has 349 students and 20 full-time teachers representing a 19:1 student-teacher ratio. The school’s student body makeup is 49 percent male, 51 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 2 percent. The school’s Mathematics Proficiency was 98 percent, English Proficiency was also 98 percent, and the graduation rate was 97 percent.
“When looking at school success, all the variables must be taken into consideration,” said North Adams High School Principal, Matt Young. “I’m obviously biased when I say this, but I truly believe we have the best community, parents, teachers, and classified staff members.”
Young commends the community’s dedication to their school and emphasizes that on-going community support and expectations are necessary ingredients in improving the quality of education.
“We know we need to always strive to be better,” he says. “Being a Bronze Medal School is an honor, but we’ll need to work harder to strive towards being named a Gold Medal School in the near future.”
North Adams High School has 510 students and 31 full time teachers. The student to teacher ratio is 16:1, and the student body makeup is 47 percent male and 53 percent female, with total minority enrollment at 2 percent. In Mathematics Proficiency, the school’s ranking was 94 percent, English Proficiency was 95 percent, and graduation rate was 92 percent. With 587 students and 32 full-time teachers,
West Union High School has a 19:1 student-teacher ratio. The student body makeup is 49 percent male and 51 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 2 percent. The school’s Mathematics Proficiency was 88 percent, English Proficiency was 92 percent, and the graduation rate was 92 percent.
Each of the schools were ranked based on their performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college. The 2016 National Rankings included data on more than 21,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. The top 6,517 public high schools were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals, indicating their level of college readiness.
Among the Ohio schools, 18 were awarded gold medals, 137 earned silver medals and 243 received bronze medals. According to U.S. News and World Report, the rankings are based on two key principles: “That a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”
U.S. News uses four-steps to determine which high schools are top-performing. The first step determines whether each school’s students perform better than expected for students in their state. The second step assesses whether each school’s minority and low-income students performed better than other disadvantaged students in their state. Step three requires that each school surpass a basic benchmark of 68 percent or better for their graduation rate, and step four requires that students are prepared for college-level coursework.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, high school students must earn at least 20 credits in various subjects, including four units of English language arts and math. High school students in Ohio must also receive instruction in economics and financial literacy to graduate.