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Local high schools rank among best in the state

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Shenandoah High School in Middletown is nationally-ranked and listed in the top 10 percent of Indiana high schools.

U.S. News & World Report looked at several factors from the 2016-2017 school year to determine Shenandoah’s place among all the Hoosier high schools, including college readiness and reading and math proficiencies.

“It’s always good to be recognized,” said Shenandoah High School Principal Jake Wiese. “Our teachers are committed to doing what’s best for the students.”

According to the Indiana Department of Education, there are 414 public high schools – counting traditional and charter schools – and 106 non-public high schools in the state, for a grand total of 520.

The U.S. News ranking puts Shenandoah High School in the 91st percentile of Hoosier high schools.

Nearly a third of Shenandoah High School students participate in an Advance Placement (AP) class. Sixty percent of those students passed the AP exam in their class. This helped give SHS a College Readiness Index of 20.8.

Students at Shenandoah High School also showed 45 percent proficiency on the state mathematics exam and 74 percent on the state reading exams. 

Wiese said the ranking among other schools also shows that Shenandoah students are willing to listen to their instructors and trust them. SHS has a student-teacher ratio of 15:1 and a graduation rate of 95 percent.

For the second year in a row, New Castle High School has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top high school in Indiana.

The annual “Best High Schools” report lists NCHS at #65 among all Indiana high schools, putting the Trojans in the top 12.5 percent of them all.

NCHS Associate Principal Kenon Gray announced the news to staff last week as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

“As it takes a village, it takes everyone to really accomplish this feat with our students,” Gray said.

NCHS has a College Readiness Index of 15.9, with 28 percent of the students taking AP classes.

More than 40 percent of the kids who took an AP class at New Castle last year passed at least one AP exam, which translates to college credit.

According to the national report, New Castle High School had 1,084 students last year. Almost half of those students received free or reduced lunch. This is the measure that U.S. News & World Report used to determine the percentage of the student body is “economically disadvantaged.”

New Castle High School and the New Castle School District overall outperformed the state average when it came to math and reading proficiency tests.

NCHS also had a 12:1 student-teacher ratio last year and a 95 percent graduation rate.

The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 20,500 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

New Castle High School earned a bronze medal in the new rankings.

The U.S. News & World Report annual report also included other schools that serve Henry County families.

Hagerstown High School also received a bronze award and is ranked number 85 in the state. HHS has a graduation rate of 96 percent and a 10.5 College Readiness Index.

Although neither was nationally ranked, Tri Junior-Senior High School had 100 percent graduation rate, Knightstown High School had a graduation rate of 96 percent and Blue River Valley Jr-Sr High School had a graduation rate of 88 percent.