Spain Park among best in U.S.

HOOVER &8212; Newsweek included Spain Park High School in its recent list of best public high schools, which named a record 1,258 this year. The Hoover City school snuck in toward the end of those making the cut at No. 1,248.

Rankings are based on numbers of students enrolled in college-level courses, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate, who also take the corresponding exams.

Amanda Hood, academic assistant principal, said for the first time this year, Spain Park required all students enrolled in AP classes to also take the college-level exam. &8220;We feel it&8217;s important for them to get the experience of sitting for an exam as extensive as the AP test,&8221; Hood said.

Unlike many reports, test scores are not taken into account for Newsweek&8217;s list as mere participation is considered an indicator of a school&8217;s effort to prepare its students for college. This standard, known as the Challenge Index, allows schools to be graded on their level of student expectations and support, not resulting performance.

Six other Alabama high schools made the list, including International Baccalaureate School in Irondale, which placed in the top five for the third consecutive year