SHS, PHS among U.S.’s finest

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

For the second straight year, two Covington County schools were recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as two of the “Best High Schools in America.”

In a listing released Thursday, Straughn and Pleasant Home high schools were again awarded a “bronze medal” for their outstanding academic achievements.

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 first how schools are educating all of their students, then their minority and disadvantaged students, and finally their college-bound students based on student scores on statewide tests, Advanced Placement tests and International Baccalaureate tests.

This is Pleasant Home’s third year in a row for the honor and Straughn’s second, said CCS interim superintendent Terry Holley.

“I know we keep saying how proud we are of the students, teachers and administrators in our system, but it’s recognition like this that shows the community what we are accomplishing,” Holley said. “And in doing so, this award goes right along the others our system has received — like the ones at W.S. Harlan.

“We are mighty proud of our schools and our students,” he said.

Holley said he was especially proud of the improvement seen at SHS.

“Straughn is currently in ‘school improvement status’ in regards to adequate yearly progress,” he said of the process that measures school’s test scores. “They will come out next year and this award shows how we continue to improve.”

The magazine analyzed 21,786 public high schools throughout the U.S. Based on scores, schools were placed into gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention categories.

SHS and PHS were two of 1,819 high schools awarded bronze medals. The No. 1 spot went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia.