Thorp High School Among Nation's Best

The Thorp Courier (Thorp, WI)
January 9, 2007
Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon

Thorp along with Auburndale, Abbotsford, Granton, Greenwood, Pittsville, and Loyal high schools ranked among the best throughout the United States, according to a recent U.S. News & World Report.  Bronze medals were awarded to these schools which means they are ranked in the top 8.5 percent in the nation.

School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business, developed the ranking which is based on two key principles: 1. A great high school must serve all students well, not only those college bound, and 2. It must successfully educate its student population across a wide range of performance indicators.  The top 100 schools in the nation that did the best in the analysis earned gold medals, the next 405 schools received silver medals, and an additional 1,086 earned bronze.

State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster commended schools and communities throughout Wisconsin for being named to various lists regarding education.  “Congratulations to these schools and communities,” Burmaster said.  “I am proud that so many of our schools earned top honors as each school and community embraces our New Wisconsin Promise to provide a quality education for every child.”

While analyzing 18,790 public high schools in 48 states, U. S. News collected data from the 2005-06 school year.  A three-step process determined the best high schools.  The first step evaluated if students were performing better than the state average.  In this process, reading and math test results for all students on each state’s high school test were first observed.  Then the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at each school was factored in to find which schools were performing better than statistical expectations.

The second step established whether each school’s least advantaged students including black, Hispanic, and low-income, were performing better than the state average.  School’s math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students were compared with the statewide results in selecting which performed better than the state average.

The final step judged schools that made it through the first two steps on their college-readiness performance.  In this evaluation process, Advanced Placement participation data and test scores were used as the benchmarks for success.

Thorp School District Administrator Barkley Anderson commented, “This award is a reflection of the hard work and talent of our students, faculty and staff, and community.  We all should feel very proud of earning this honor.”

“We’re fortunate to be in a small school where we can give our students much individual attention and have more awareness of each student’s academic needs than exists in many larger schools,” said Principal Jim Montgomery.  Regarding college readiness, he replied that the faculty of Thorp High School strives to provide the students with many college-prep courses and experiences in preparing for the college work load.  “We encourage our students to take upper level classes, even if it’s not required, to help in better preparing them for college coursework,” he said.  “We’re very proud of our students’ achievements as well as the many ways in which our faculty, staff, parents, and community assist them in their educational journey.”  In addition, Montgomery described that the school is also proud of winning and being recognized for the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) award for the past two years in a row which is based on the socioeconomic background of schools’ student populations and students’ state standardized test results.

Greenwood Superintendent Thomas Nykl said so many Clark County schools performed well despite high poverty levels because the communities hold traditional family lifestyles.  About 60 percent of Greenwood’s students live in two-family homes.  “We have low-income families, but we have quality families overall. Those kids are being supported and nurtured, so the education gap between higher-income and lower-income families is small,” he said.

Granton Superintendent Rick Rehm responded that small, rural schools can give more individual attention to students, and therefore, prevent them from slipping beneath the crowd.  “A good school provides a safe environment with a caring staff,” he said.

“The most important thing is to nurture every student at the appropriate level socially, academically, and emotionally and to instill in that student a sense of success and values that will make them productive citizens in their futures,” said Nykl.






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