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High school 207th in Newsweek’s top high schools list

Date: 9/3/2015

LONGMEADOW – Newsweek recently ranked Longmeadow High School (LHS) 207th on a list of the top 500 high schools in America for 2015.

Superintendent of Schools Marie Doyle told Reminder Publications more than 14,000 high schools were evaluated by Newsweek to generate the top high schools list.

According to Newsweek, its methodology included evaluating high schools on proficiency levels on standardized math and reading/ language arts tests. The publication also analyzed each school’s college enrollment and graduation rates, student retention numbers for dropout rates, college readiness index scores, and counselor-to-student ratio.

Newsweek partnered with research corporation Westat to compile its rankings.

The listing for LHS states that the school has a college readiness rate of 81.2 percent, a graduation rate of 99.1 percent with 93 percent of graduates who are college bound, as well as a counselor to student ratio of one to 193.

Doyle said she believes LHS’ teachers, supportive parents of students, and a “community that cares about education” made all the difference in regards to the ranking.

“I think that our students work extremely hard to achieve that high level,” she added. “When you take a look – our SAT scores last year were the highest that they’ve been in our history and we say that our students really care about their performance.”

One aspect Newsweek did not incorporate into its study was the course offerings at high schools.

LHS Principal Thomas Landers said computer science courses, which focus with computer programming, have been gaining interest among students in regular as well as advanced placement (AP) classes.  

He noted that LHS formed a partnership with the Smith College Biology Department in Northampton with an emphasis on LHS students studying and raising zebrafish on the LHS campus.

Landers said zebrafish are transparent and have a very quick developmental cycle, which makes it a perfect organism for research.

LHS also offers numerous AP courses in math and science fields such as calculus, statistics biology, physics, chemistry, and environmental science, he noted

“We’re a true liberal arts school and we look to find opportunities for students to get a foundational education across the board and then delve deeply into the areas where they really care about,” he added.

In October 2014, LHS ranked 308th out of a pool of 760 top high schools nationally in an article by the Daily Beast. East Longmeadow High School also made the list, ranking 459.