Oak Mountain HS makes Newsweek list

Published 4:28 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oak Mountain High School is on the list of Newsweek’s top public high schools for the second year straight.

Oak Mountain ranked as No. 893 this year. Last year, the school ranked as No. 762.

Principal Joan Doyle said the school’s students and staff were excited to make the list again.

“It just reaffirms the work that our teachers and our kids are doing in the classroom,” she said. “We’re just thrilled about it.”

Doyle said it was a goal of hers to keep Oak Mountain on the Newsweek list.

“After making it last year, I think that we started looking for it this year,” she said. “I don’t think it changed anything we do. Obviously, we live in a great community where we have a lot of parental support. It’s a great learning environment anyway, and I don’t think it changed anything, but I know this year when the list came out, I was looking for it.”

Doyle said it didn’t concern her that Oak Mountain was ranked slightly lower this year than last year.

“There’s 27,000 public schools, so I don’t know that a drop like that is as significant as it seems when you just say the two numbers,” she said. “I think you have to keep in perspective the huge number of schools that is involved. We are in the top five percent of schools in the United States.”

She said the recognition just helps the school community remember they continue to do a great job.

“I think that obviously our teachers work very hard, our whole school community works hard, our parents work hard — when you have that in place, great things are going to happen,” she said. “I think this just gives us some recognition for all of that hard work.”

Schools on the Newsweek list are ranked according to a ratio, found by taking the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests taken at a school and dividing by the number of graduating seniors.

Next year, Oak Mountain will add three more AP courses — Latin, Spanish and European history — to the 11 the school already boasts.

Other Birmingham-area schools to make the list included the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School at No. 3, Mountain Brook High School at No. 241 and Homewood High Schools at No. 634.