Local high schools ranked among state’s best

Six high schools in Shelby County were ranked among the best in Alabama by U.S. News & World Report.

Oak Mountain High School was the county’s top-rated school, at No. 6, in the annual rankings, followed by Spain Park High School at No. 12, Calera High School at No. 24, Chelsea High School at No. 27, Vincent Middle High School at No. 37 and Helena High School at No. 54.

The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 22,000 public 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.

The 2017 U.S. News Best High Schools in Alabama included two gold, 29 silver and 96 bronze medal schools out of 363 ranked high schools.

Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Calera and Chelsea all received Silver Medals.

U.S. News partnered with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global social science research firm, to produce this year’s rankings.

A four-step process determined the Best High Schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The first three steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using their performance on the math and reading parts of their state proficiency tests and their graduation rates as the benchmarks.

For those schools that made it past the first three steps, a fourth step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.

  • The first step determined whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for students in that state.
  • For schools passing the first step, Step 2 assessed whether their disadvantaged students – black, Hispanic and low-income – performed at or better than the state average for the least-advantaged students.
  • For schools passing the first and second step, Step 3 required schools to meet or surpass a benchmark for their graduation rate. This is the second year U.S. News has included this step.
  • Schools that made it through the first three steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step – college-readiness performance – using Advanced Placement test data as the benchmark for success. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the country.