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NHHS earns bronze from U.S. News & World

A bronze ranking. That’s what North Harrison High School received from the U.S. News & World Report on its Best High Schools rankings.
‘I’m very proud to receive the award for the school corporation and the high school,’ D. John Thomas, superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp., said Monday afternoon after learning the news.
Only 136 of Indiana’s 421 eligible public high schools earned a ranking. Five ‘ Zionsville, West Lafayette Junior-Senior High, In ACA for Sci Math & Humanities and Herron High School ‘ earned gold rankings. Thirty-five received silver; another 96, including NHHS, were ranked bronze.
North Harrison was the only school in Harrison County to be ranked.
‘This (ranking) looks good on a student’s college application,’ Thomas said.
U.S. News has posted the nation’s top-performing public high schools online since 2007 with a goal of providing ‘a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of its students … in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills as well as readiness for college-level work.’
The rankings released Monday are based on the 2014-15 school year.
Initially, 28,496 public high schools in the 50 states and District of Columbia were reviewed with the number culled to 20,487, representing the number of schools that had at least 15 students in grade 12 or a ‘sufficient enrollment’ in other high school grades.
Four steps go into determining the awards: 1) Students’ reading and math results on state proficiency tests with the percent of economically disadvantaged students (the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches) factored in; 2) Comparison of schools’ math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students (low-income, black and Hispanic) with statewide results for these groups; 3) student graduation rates (excluding schools with rates lower than 75 percent); and 4) Calculation based on the school’s AP participation and how well students performed on those tests.
According to U.S. News, the schools ranked gold and silver are those that met all four steps, while the bronze ranking includes those that met the criteria for state test performances and graduation rates but their level of measurable college readiness isn’t as high.
Thomas contends North Harrison could have ranked better if it offered more AP classes. He said about 20 courses are currently offered.
Dr. Stephen T. Hatton, principal at NHHS, echoed Thomas’ comments about not offering many AP classes.
Instead, he said the school works closely with the Harrison County Community Foundation to offer a higher number of dual-credit classes because they believe those are more beneficial to their students than AP classes.
‘We have chosen to do what is best for our students moving forward in terms of leaving NH with multiple college credits,’ Hatton said.
Hatton wasn’t surprised by the school’s ranking.
‘Our teachers care a great deal about our students and work extremely hard to provide them with a quality education.,’ he said. ‘We are certainly humbled by the honor, but, to be completely honest, there is very little that surprises me about the accomplishments of this staff and student body. This is truly a special high school, and I am very blessed to be a part of it.’