US News: 3 area high schools among best in US
Click here to get more information about the U.S. News & World Report "Best High Schools" rankings.
JANESVILLE The phrase "1,891 out of 21,776" is a hard one to wrap your head around.
Nineteenth in the state is a little easier.
However you describe it, Parker High School teachers accomplished it one relationship at a time, District Administrator Karen Schulte said.
Parker is one of three high schools in Rock and Walworth counties ranked among the best by U.S.News & World Report, the news magazine announced Tuesday.
Parker earned a silver medal for its national ranking of 1,891st place. It ranked 19th in the state. Delavan-Darien and Parkview high schools earned bronze awards, according to the U.S. News news release.
The study ranks schools based on student performance on state achievement tests and college preparatory exams. The schools also were rated based on the scores of minority students and those from economically disadvantaged families because those students tend to score lower on tests, according to the news release.
Parker's silver medal is a result of district-wide efforts by teachers and staff, Janesville administrators said late Wednesday after Parker Principal Christopher Laue told teachers the news.
"We've made a concerted effort to develop relationships with all kids. We acknowledge that's extremely important for kids of color and those with economic disadvantages or special needs," Laue said. "That's what gets them to school."
The announcement was welcome news in Delavan, as well, according to a news release from the district. The bronze medal ranking is encouraging for teachers and students at Delavan-Darien High School, Principal Mark Schmitt said. Schmitt was struck by the study's emphasis on reaching all students and finding ways to measure results, he said.
"That is exactly what we are focusing on," Schmitt said. "Serving all students so they are prepared for a career and college as we develop the outcomes and measures to make sure that all students are achieving."
Each school that ranked well did the following, according to the news release:
-- Exceeded statistical expectations on state reading and math accountability tests given the school's relative level of student poverty. Scores of all the students in the school, regardless of family income, were taken into account. Different weights were given to advanced, proficient or nearly proficient scores.
-- Exceeded state averages on state tests for the school's least-advantaged student groups including African American, Latino or economically disadvantaged.
-- Prepared its students for college according to participation and performance scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. Parker, Delavan-Darien and Parkview schools use Advanced Placement classes and exams, according to U.S. News data.
Parker students identified in the low-income category on reading tests placed 13 percent better compared to students in the same category across the state, according to a Janesville School District news release. African-American students on reading tests scored 33 percent higher than their peers, according to the news release.
In cases, they scored higher than the aggregate scores at other schools, said Janesville School District Director of Instructional Service Kim Ehrhardt. That means the district is making strides in closing the achievement gap between white and minority students, he said.
He told Parker teachers they deserved the recognition.
"You're knocking it out of the park," he said.