The Edmond Sun

Education

April 23, 2014

U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

EDMOND — All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.

U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.

“This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

Debbie Bendick, executive director of secondary education, said the three high schools offer increasingly robust advanced placement programs with a range of courses in many topics.

“Demonstrated success in these classes weighs heavily in recognitions such as those announced by U.S. News and The Washington Post,” Bendick said.

The Washington Post’s 2014 Most Challenging High Schools List ranked the Edmond high schools among the Top 10 most rigorous in the state.

North Principal Jason Pittenger said he learned about the recognition Monday through a message distributed by administrators. Pittenger echoed Goin’s remarks regarding validation. Pittenger said North also pursues excellence in the arts and athletics, but fundamentally it is an institution of learning.

“Our administration, our support staff, cafeteria workers, our parking lot workers, everybody’s on the same team and we’re about academic excellence,” Pittenger said.

Like Pittenger, Teri Walls, a 20-year educator and North’s 2013-14 Teacher of the Year, said she also learned about the district’s honor announced from administration.

“I was very proud and honestly not surprised,” Walls said. “I feel like I’m surrounded by outstanding co-workers, students and parents who really value education.”

Walls has been with the district since 2009 and teaches pre-AP English II and AP Literature. Pennants including several from Ivy League schools and MIT line the walls of her classroom. They represent destinations of recent students. Walls said she seeks to help students achieve as individuals by learning about their needs.

Walls said this year North started a new elective ACT review class in which about 90 students rotate in math, science and English. Walls said it’s making a big difference in school ACT scores.

The 2014 Best High Schools rankings are designed to help parents identify standout schools in their state as well as those that excel nationally.

In Oklahoma, Oklahoma City’s Harding Charter Preparatory High School was ranked No. 1, Oklahoma City’s Dove Science Academy was No. 2, Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School was No. 4, the Classen School of Advanced Studies was No. 5, Norman High School was No. 7, Morrison High School was No. 8 and the Harding Fine Arts Academy was No. 10.

U.S. News analyzed more than 31,200 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The organization published data on more than 19,400 of them, including student demographics and results on state exams and AP and International Baccalaureate tests.

In the state rankings, Oklahoma, which had 281 eligible high schools, was No. 40. Maine was No. 1, North Dakota No. 51.

U.S. News teamed up with American Institutes for Research, a D.C.-based organization, to evaluate schools in overall student performance on state-mandated assessments and how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.

Participation in and performance on AP and IB exams were used to evaluate how well schools prepared students for college-level course work.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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