The report takes into consideration the evaluation of almost 22,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Schools across the country were awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on their performance on state proficiency tests, how well they prepare students for college, and other factors such as whether or not each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state.
Lincoln and Winterboro high schools received bronze rankings nationally.
Lincoln High School had a college readiness index of 6.4, a math proficiency ranking of 3.1, and an English proficiency ranking of 2.9.
Winterboro High School had a math proficiency ranking of 2.9 and an English proficiency ranking of 2.9.
“It’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people that really have embodied and accepted the vision on how we need to come together and move our children forward,” said LHS Principal Terry Roller.
“Collectively we have established this vision of ‘what is it going to take to prepare students for the next step in their lives?”
According to Roller, in 2011 about 93 percent of LHS students were placed in post-secondary two- and four-year institutions, or in the military.
Over the past two years over $2.1 million in academic/athletic scholarships have been awarded to LHS students; over the past six years, LHS students have received 36 athletic scholarships.
Roller says that the national ranking speaks to the work that has been going on at LHS for years, and to the network of LHS teachers, staff, parents, students, and especially Superintendent Suzanne Lacey and the Talladega County Board of Education members.
“Our superintendent and all those that work within that hierarchy give us all the resources and assistance we need in order to do the best for our children,” Roller said.
“Our numbers speak to our commitment to prepare kids for college. Prior to this year we were leading the way through AP courses and college readiness.”
Roller said that LHS has bought into a model that started at Childersburg High School with teachers decorating their doors with paraphernalia from their alma mater.
“It’s such a powerful, subtle message that school is important. It’s really just a powerful statement,” Roller said.
“It becomes a matter of ‘where am I going to college?’ instead of ‘will I go to college.’
Students are at an almost 70 percent poverty level and with that being said we’re putting 90-plus percent of them in college every year? That’s amazing.”
The U.S. News and World Report ranking has come around a second time for Winterboro High School.
“It means validation for what we’re doing,” said WHS Principal Craig Bates. “It is an honor to receive this. This is the second time we’ve been listed and I think it shows some consistency in the programs we’re implementing.”
Bates said that this year’s ranking is a testament to the hard work of WHS’ teachers and students, as well as the work of the schools in the Talladega County School System.
“Congratulations to Lincoln because I think it’s a testament to what we’re doing in Talladega County because two of our schools are on a national listing,” Bates said.
For more information about the 2012 “Best High Schools,” visit http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.