Avon Lake High School Breaks Into Newsweek’s Top 500 "Best High Schools"
2011 marks third year Avon Lake High School is on the list
In a year when Newsweek Magazine opted to scale back from the top 1,622 high public schools in America to just 500, Avon Lake High School jumped from last year’s ranking of 1,164 to no. 418 this year.
It marks the third year Avon Lake has made Newsweek’s “America’s Best High Schools” list. In 2009 the school ranked 1,253.
The high school’s principal, Dr. Joanie Walker, sent an email to administration this morning congratulating them on the achievement.
“This year they are just ranking the top 500 high schools in the country and we are 418,” she said in the email. “For example, there are high achieving schools in our surrounding area who were ranked last year and are not part of the top 500 this year."
Walker noted that “we are still ranked in the top 84 percent of high schools according to Newsweek Magazine. Great work by all!”
Newsweek explained its new ranking method on its website.
“Rather than focus, as in the past, on one metric (AP tests taken per graduate), we consulted a group of experts…to develop a yardstick that fully reflects a school’s success turning out college-ready (and life-ready) students,” the site said.
Those experts are Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach For America; Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Open Education Solutions and the former executive director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford professor of education and founder of the School Redesign Network.”
More than 1,100 of America’s top public high schools provided Newsweek with internal data. From there, the magazine narrowed it down to 500.
Each school’s score is comprised of six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), AP tests taken per graduate (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and AP courses offered (5 percent). Click here for full methodology.
Eighteen Ohio schools made the list with Walnut Hills in Cincinnati ranking the highest at 43. In Northeast Ohio, Chagrin Falls came in at 92, Solon ranked 113, Olmsted Falls at 363 and Mayfield at 455.
Nationally, the School of Science and Engineering Magnet in Dallas was ranked no. 1 with an average SAT score of 1786. Avon Lake’s average SAT score was 1134.
Still room for improvement
Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said he thinks the ranking is a reflection not of just the high school, but the entire district.
“We’re always proud when we get these things, and even though it’s the high school, we like to think of the district as pre-k to 12,” he said. “We think one of the reasons our kids do so well in high school is they come in so well prepared.”
Scott still noted that compared to other top ranked schools, Avon Lake’s SAT scores could be better.
“Our SAT is low compared to some of the other ones on there,” he said. “We want everyone to do well after high school.”
Scott said the ranking can be used to determine how to improved the district.
“We’ll look at what other schools are doing,” he said. “We love being a good district and being in that top 500. The staff and parents and kids are doing great. But it’s a good measure where we can hunt and look at other districts to see how to improve.”