County schools honored by news magazine

Published 12:41 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two Covington County schools — Straughn High School and Pleasant Home School — are recognized in the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report as being two of the best high schools in the country.

U.S. News & World Report — in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education and data research and analysis business that provides parents with education data on — analyzed academic and enrollment data from more than 21,000 public high schools to find the very best across the country. These top schools were placed into gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention categories.

SHS and PHS were selected as bronze winners.

To be chosen as a top school was a detailed process, Covington County Schools superintendent Sharon Dye said.

“The first step determined whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state,” Dye said. “The second step determined whether the school’s least-advantaged students were performing better than average for similar students in the state. And lastly, schools that passed the first two steps became eligible for nationally judging on the final step — college-readiness performance, using Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate test data as the benchmarks for success.

“Covington County is proud to be able to say we have two of the top high schools in not only the state but in the nation,” she said. “I attribute the recognition to good leadership, excellent teachers and our students’ academic performance above the average Alabama student.”

Dye said she was also proud of the work done inside the schools by not only the students but also by the faculty and staff.

“I’m very proud of our schools, and I’m appreciative of the principals and teachers and their hard work and dedication,” she said. “I’m also proud of our students and their academic performance.”

PHS and SHS are among 54 in Alabama ranked among America’s best. Alabama’s list includes one gold medalist (Loveless Magnet High School), three silver medalists (Mountain Brook High School, Vestavia Hills High School and Grissom High School) and 50 bronze medalists.

Gold medalists are the top 100 high schools nationwide with the highest college readiness index scores ranked numerically. Silver medalists are the next 504 top-performing high schools nationwide based on college readiness index scores. Bronze medalists are the next 1,321 high schools that passed the first two steps.

The “America’s Best High Schools” issue of U.S. News & World Report is on newsstands today.

In May, PHS, along with Florala High School, was also recognized as two of “America’s Best High Schools” after receiving bronze awards for their achievements. The two were among 31 other schools in the state also recognized for high performance levels, proficiency rates on state tests and performance on Advanced Placement tests administered by the College Board.