By Denise Dick
A national news magazine designated five Mahoning Valley high schools as silver-medal winners, up from three Valley schools on last year’s list.
U.S. News and World Report released its Best High Schools list this week.
No Valley schools cracked the top 1,000 nationally, but four made Ohio’s top 100. Maplewood was ranked No. 69 in Ohio and 1,341 nationally; Hubbard, 79 in Ohio and 1,424 nationally; Columbiana, 92 in Ohio and 1,655 nationally; and Poland, 98 in Ohio and 1,743 nationally. All of those schools as well as Springfield, which was ranked 115 in the state and 2,143 nationally, also earned a silver.
No Valley schools earned gold medals in the U.S. News’ report.
“I think we have a very dedicated staff who are always looking at new ways to improve instruction,” said Gordon Hitchcock, Maplewood High School principal.
The school offers College in High School courses through Youngstown State University, allowing students to earn both high school and college credit for the higher-level course work.
The school also offers three Advanced Placement courses — calculus, history and English — and many students take advantage of those, Hitchcock said.
“For such a small district, that’s pretty significant,” he said.
“We have great teachers and we’re in a great community where the focus is on education and where excellence is the expectation, not the exception.”
Ronald Garrett, Hubbard High School principal, was happy to hear that his school ranked high, but was not surprised.
“I think our staff and students do a great job,” he said.
“I wasn’t aware of it and I’m very proud of our people for what they do. I’m excited more than surprised.”
Like Maplewood, Hubbard offers several College in High School courses through YSU. Hubbard also offers nine AP courses: French, chemistry, biology, calculus, history, government, art, literature and language.
The magazine reviewed 21,000 schools in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Nebraska didn’t report its information for the survey.
The magazine says its rankings consider “state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.
Performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams was then used to determine the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.”
Nationally, 500 schools earned gold medals, 1,790 earned silver and 2,515 schools received bronze.
This marks Columbiana’s third silver medal. It earned the honor last year and in 2009.
Lakeview and Poland also received silvers last year.
Additionally, 11 schools — Beaver Local, Canfield, Chalker Southington, Girard, Jackson-Milton, Lowellville, Mineral Ridge, South Range, United, Western Reserve and Youngstown Early College high schools — were awarded bronze medals.
Fourteen area schools earned bronze medals last year.