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Three Valley high schools rank in top 10% in US

Published: Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

Lakeview, Poland, Columbiana earn medals in survey

By Denise Dick



A national news magazine lists the country’s best high schools, and though no Mahoning Valley schools cracked the top 100, three earned silver medals — placing them in the top 10 percent in the country.

Lakeview High School is ranked as the area’s top school at 1,640th in the U.S. and 91st in Ohio, says U.S. News and World Report.

Poland Seminary High School ranked 1,725th nationally and 96th in Ohio, and Columbiana High earned the 1,837th spot on the national list and 102nd in the state. The three schools earned silver medals. Columbiana also earned a silver medal on the 2009 list.

That’s the Valley’s best showing on the list, which was last published for 2009. At that time, only Columbiana High achieved silver.

Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati earned the state’s top spot and ranked 90th on the national list.

“We’re competing with some pretty good schools,” said Lakeview Principal Richard Stevens. “It feels pretty good to have that high ranking. Our goal is to serve our students the best we can, and it appears we’re doing an OK job, and this will give us the impetus to do even better.”

The publication reviewed 22,000 public schools in 49 states and Washington, D.C., looking at how well high schools serve all students based on performance on state proficiency tests. Nebraska isn’t included in the rankings. It also examined how well the schools prepare students for college-level work and took into account the number of economically disadvantaged students in the districts and students’ participation in advanced placement courses.

Fourteen schools also earned bronze medals on the list, up from five the last time the list was published. Those schools are among the 4,877 highest scoring schools included in the review.

The bronze recipients are Bloomfield, Bristol, Canfield, Chalker (Southington), Crestview, Girard, Jackson-Milton, Lordstown, Lowellville, McDonald, South Range, West Branch, Western Reserve and Youngstown Early College.

Bloomfield, Girard, Leetonia, Struthers and YEC earned the bronze on the previous list.

Lakeview’s Stevens said he’s not surprised that the Valley’s highest ranked school was 1,640th considering it’s a national list and different states address school funding differently.

“I’d like to do better obviously,” he said.

Still, the school is in the top 8 percent in the nation, according to the list, the principal pointed out.

“It’s nice to be one of the best in the area, but again, it’s going to drive us to do better,” Stevens said. “With the state of Ohio changing from minimum competency test and transitioning to college and career readiness standards, at least we’re heading in the right direction.”

Poland Superintendent Robert Zorn is pleased with the ranking.

“I think that’s exciting and good news,” he said. “With all the levy fuss lately, I’m glad to hear some good news. I think everyone would have a right to be proud — faculty, parents, students — it takes everybody.”

Zorn said he is surprised, however, that more schools from the area didn’t rank higher on the list.

“But I’ll take good news any day of the week,” he said.

Don Mook, superintendent of Columbiana schools, agreed.

“In today’s attack on public education, I can tell you that anything we can share with our public to let them know we’re doing a good job and putting out a good product — and you get notification or verification from an outside group that’s evaluating you — I would say it’s a feather in our cap,” he said. “I’m pretty pleased to see that. The top 10 percent in the nation speaks volumes.”

Just like when a student scores proficient on a state test, the district wants that student to improve to an accelerated score, though there’s always room for improvement, he said.

“I guess this would be no different,” Mook said. “If we were a silver medal, we’d like to move up to a gold.”


1cashew01(3 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Poland wouldnt be so high up if they based it on a business. Way to go students.

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2justicefourall(1 comment)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Howland didn't even make the list.....So much for a "World Class Community" huh? We need some changes in this town! The school system is going down the crapper and the township thinks it's New York City. The politics are so thick, you can cut it with a knife. We need younger blood running this town.................It's a GOOD OLE' BOYS CLUB. Wake Up leaders of Howland! You AIN'T WHAT YOU USE TO BE. What are we getting for our TAX$$......NOTHING!

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3egvn649(1 comment)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

These survey are a joke !! They conveniently choose to not include parochial or other private schools.

Fact is they can't stand the reality that any comparison would show. Locally both Cardinal Mooney and Ursuline would blow away any and all local schools academically.

Well over 90% of their graduates attend college and every year the average amount of scholarship per student at both of these schools is significantly higher than their
public counterparts.

It is not surprising that many non-catholic families send their children to parochial schools......i.e. (the nephew of the President of the Youngstown's Board of Education attended a local parochial school). No parochial school has ever restricted admission based on religious grounds.

As a non-catholic parent of 3 children I chose to send my children to parochial school. All of my children where accepted to every college/university to which they applied and all 3 received full 4 year scholarships to highly ranked colleges with tuition's over 45,000 a year.

Perhaps public schools should quit beating their chests and learn how to compete in any real evaluation of how they would stack up academically to private schools.

Why doesn't the Vindicator do a real comparison of the quality between local public schools vs private school education. Oh wait, the Vindicator or local television channels wouldn't know how to do real investigative reporting and never has. Telling the truth of a situation has never been their strength. Let's just all put our heads in the sand and pretend nothing is less than it could be locally or we might offend our advertisers.

Maybe it is because the answer is already known......Public school education on average just doesn't compare.

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4DontBanThisDrone(1046 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The top 10% in the U.S. is the bottom 2% in China and Russia.

*Moves to next article*


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5Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago


Charter schools are public schools and so are probably included in the survey.

Parochial Schools and Private Prep Schools are two very different entities.

The purpose of Parochial Schools and Christian Schools is to create more and better members of their congregations. Apparently this mission is not being accomplished if judged by the number of non-Catholic students' conversions to Catholicism.

Academically, the Parochial schools could easily enter face to face competition with the public schools by simply taking the same state tests, which are open to them, but which they wisely ignore.

The students with vouchers must take the tests, and results are published deep in the webpages of the Ohio Department of Education.

So you can be forgiven for not knowing the dismal results. But here is an article the Vindicator did. Read the article and the comments for a balanced discussion.

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6Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Actually no, "Don't Ban This Drone".
China didn't even compete. Shanghai did, Hong Kong did. But not the whole country. If Massachusetts participated separately, they would have had the best scores.

All industrialized countries have similar scores. When pundits talk about the competition in international test scores, usually citing the PISA, and talking about shades of achievement among economic leaders.

For this test, a school gets a small list of randomly chosen students to be pulled to take the test...a test that has no consequences or reward for them.

There are 49,400,000 public school students in the U.S.
PISA tests a total of 470,000 students WORLDWIDE.
Scroll to the bottom of this link, and pay attention to the actual numerical scores.
Since the test is voluntary, a lot of countries do not participate. But the 3rd world countries who do, tend to score in the 300s. The difference between a 500 and 520 could be statistical error.
In short, politicians like to imagine a crisis. So do news media.
The U.S. has the best business people in the world, the best artists, and some of the best scientists and medical experts. How does that happen?

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7Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

For those out there that are crying about Catholic schools not publishing there results and not being taken into consideration you need to look at the following link. It has ALL SCHOOLS .

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8Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

For those that are still crying about Catholic Schools not publishing results, well here you have them, and I might add that they are pretty darn good.


You might want the short version JFK is the best Ursuline would be the runner up and Cardinal Mooney comes in third as far as Catholic Schools are concerned.

Education Voter now that you have the numbers before you, maybe you might want to revise your statements (and admit that you are a public teacher) about these schools performance and also about your anti-catholic bias.

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9Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

"So you can be forgiven for not knowing the dismal results."

Please change your screen name to UNEducated_Voter to better reflect reality.
Have a nice day.

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10Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

UNEducated Voter take a look at how YOUR students did at Chaney, did you even teach them a single thing at Volney or were you on a coffee break for nine months. And you have the nerve to talk trash about Catholic Schools. What color is the sky in your world.

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11Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Silence Dogood,
I am a parochial AND public school teacher.
It looks to me like Gerber LLC is using only the Ohio Graduation Test, which is more a test of what students know when they enter high school than where their skills are when they leave it. (Kids take it in 10th grade.) That's why the U.S. News and World Report survey is so interesting. They take multiple measures like college admissions, college tests, etc.

The OGT is a very general test, since it measures the skills of a student from K to 9th grade, it doesn't go into depth. The grade level tests from 3rd to 8th grades are more detailed, have more essay questions, and are a more specific measure of the schools' work. Those are the ones parochial schools don't take.

Chaney is closed, Silence. My students don't go there. They go to Austintown, McDonald, Ursuline, and Rayen Early College High School for the most part. If you don't know what happened to Chaney, you haven't been paying attention.
The PIRS also did a study on private vs. public schools. Their results make sense. Private schools perform better IF you don't look at student demographics. Schools like St. Xavier, Western Reserve Academy enroll many affluent students with professional parents and wide experience. So PIRS looked at the students with the same backgrounds as those in public schools. When adjusted for income, the public schools performed better.
You can find the parochial school scores on the ODE website if you search it hard enough. The Vindicator was being kind. Kids who stayed in the public schools outperformed students in parochial schools in every county in Ohio.
Also, remember, you and I are comparing local parochial schools to the most troubled system: Youngstown. What if we compared them to the schools in the U.S. News and World Report, or to Canfield or even Struthers?
As for my own decision to work in Youngstown: if everyone avoids the difficult positions, how could things get better?

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12Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

PISA report on public and private school results on their tests:

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13Education_Voter(1173 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Ohio Department of Education
Test results for voucher students
Note: You must click on the link for the year you want to see. The link is not in blue, but is underlined. If you are persistant, you can scroll down to county by county results.

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14Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Boy you sure know how to tee up a ball for someone to whack.

"It looks to me like Gerber LLC is using only the Ohio Graduation Test, which is more a test of what students know when they enter high school than where their skills are when they leave it. "

For the overwhelming majority of the students that attend a local Catholic High School , they have come from a Catholic Grade School. Ergo the test results reflect what was accomplished at the lower levels of schooling. Thank you for making my point.
But take a GOOD LONG LOOK at the difference between those Schools listed, it is MIND-BOGGLING.

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15southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

These tests are highly subjective and were based upon:
"...the number of economically disadvantaged students in the districts and students’ participation in advanced placement courses....". Laughable!

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