High schools in Arroyo Grande and Cambria lead San Luis Obispo County rankings in the fourth U.S. News & World Report list of the best in the nation, according to rankings posted May 8 on www.usnews.com.
Arroyo Grande High School is ranked 124th in the state and 665th nationally with an academic performance index of 809 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 22 to 1, two of many factors figuring into the rankings.
Coast Union High School in Cambria was ranked 165th out of 2,407 high schools in the state of California and 844th out of 22,000 in 49 states of the country (Nebraska didn’t submit enough data to be included).
Coast Union has an academic performance index of 800 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 13 to 1.
It’s Coast Union’s third time on the list, according to Chris Adams, superintendent of the Coast Unified School District.
Those placements were sufficiently high for both county schools to receive virtual silver medals. No actual medals are awarded.
More than 4,850 gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to top-performing schools, with a record 500 schools, many in California, reaching gold-medal status. The state’s top high school, Oxford Academy in Cypress, was ranked seventh nationally. It recorded a 984 performance index score and a 26-to-1 student-teacher ratio.
Adams said all schools in the county except Paso Robles High School were judged to be in medal range.
“Schools are analyzed first at the state level in terms of how well students performed on state assessments, taking into account the test scores of disadvantaged students who tend to score lower on tests,” the magazine said in the posting. Then, in terms of college readiness, the magazine “determines the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work by analyzing student success in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.”
Adams said the school’s ranking is “another independent judgment of how well we’re doing,” in providing quality education to the district’s students.
Coast’s new principal, Wade Lawrence, said he’s “really proud” of the school’s students and faculty. “I don’t know if the community, students and parents really understand what an accomplishment it is to be listed as one of the top high schools in the country.”
He said the award reflects “all the positive things we’re doing and the academics at our school” plus “the dedication of students, teachers and the community involvement.” The medal status is a reminder that “we’re here for the academics first, and the icing on the cake” is the performances, clubs and activities available on campus.