Four area high schools have been ranked among the state’s best, according to an annual list compiled by U.S. News and World Report.
Under the ranking system, Sherman High School was listed as 189th in the state among all eligible public high schools and was awarded a silver medal. Denison High School, Gunter High School and Howe High School all earned bronze medals and were respectively ranked 223rd, 240th and 245th. There are more than 1,900 public high schools in Texas.
“It always makes us feel special on earning recognition at any level for high achievement in academic performance,” Denison Independent School District Superintendent Henry Scott said in an emailed statement.
The 2017 rankings and medal designations are based upon four categories, which reflect data derived from the 2015-2016 school year. The first assesses student performance on standardized reading and math exams in relation to the number of economically disadvantaged students, who tend to score lower on such exams. The second category compares the reading and math proficiency rates of each school’s disadvantaged student population with statewide results for similarly designated student groups. The third category identifies schools which met or exceeded that national average student graduation rate and the final category calculates a “college readiness index” based upon a school’s Advance Placement course participation rate and how well students scored on AP tests.
Gunter Independent School District Superintendent Jill Siler said the college readiness criteria is often difficult for smaller, rural schools to meet as they tend to offer fewer AP courses. Siler said Gunter High offers only three AP courses, but an AP course partnership with Grayson College allows Gunter students the option to graduate with up to 80 college credit hours.
“We are very proud of the work going on in Gunter High School,” Siler said in emailed statement.
Scott said there are multiple publications which generate ranking for schools and districts and each uses its own criteria to do so. With that in mind, he said he felt the rankings released by U.S. News and World Report don’t necessarily paint a complete picture of a school’s performance.
“I believe the ranking system is fair, but doesn’t tell the full story of how well students are educated in school districts across the nation,” Scott said.
Emails seeking comment from Sherman Independent School District Superintendent David Hicks and Howe Independent School District Superintendent Kevin Wilson were not immediately returned.