3 schools rank among state’s best

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Niche.com listed three Covington County schools among the 100 best public high schools in Alabama.

Florala High School was the county’s top-ranked school at 32nd; Straughn was ranked No. 87, and Pleasant Home 100.

Niche.com, used dated that measures academics, health and safety, student culture and diversity, parent and student survey responses, teachers, resources and facilities, and sports and fitness in their assessment. The organization’s goal in ranking the schools is to “make choosing a neighborhood, college, or K-12 school a more transparent process.”

FHS Principal Brent Zessin gave God the credit, first, and his entire staff credit, as well.

“God really blessed us to have that honor,” he said. “It is credited to our faculty and our staff. We have a great group of staff from the math teachers to the secretaries to the custodians.”

He also credited the teachers at WS Harlan Elementary School for the foundations laid for students at FHS.

Zessin said Florala is the top 1A school in the state.

“My philosophy is to love kids,” he said. “We truly love kids at Florala High School. Kids have boundaries and they are loved. Our teachers are dedicated to teaching the course of study. We have structure.”

Zessin said students have good parents, and Florala is just a great small town.

“We are excited,” he said.

Straughn High School Principal John Evers said they are very honored.

“It is a reflection of the hard work of our teachers and our students,” he said. “They come to school every day and do a good job.”

Pleasant Home School Assistant Principal Amber McKathan said the administration is very proud of the hard-working faculty, staff and students.

“We truly care about helping our students become successful, responsible and productive members of society,” she said. “Our efforts to motivate and engage our students in their academics and extracurricular activities are evident through our school’s yearly performance. Our teachers are dedicated and committed to providing students with the high quality instruction they need in order to reach their highest potential. Our students work hard to achieve their goals, and they are encouraged and supported to strive beyond expectations. We are all proud to be Pleasant Home Eagles.”

The best public high schools ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience at public high schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Data is sourced from various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and 4.6 million opinion-based survey responses across a variety of topics from 287,560 current students, recent alumni and parents.

According a release, a high ranking in overall experience generally indicates that:

• students are very happy with their experiences in all aspects, including academics, teachers, health, safety, resources, facilities, extracurricular, sports, and fitness;

• the school is an exceptional academic institution in terms of teachers, resources for learning, and student outcomes;

• the school is made up of a diverse population and fosters an accepting, positive school culture;

• students are actively involved in a variety of extracurriculars and sports the school offers.