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Three local schools honored in national report

Three local schools were recently recognized nationally for their achievements through the U.S. News & World Report’s best high schools rankings.
The report, which was released last week, listed Russellville High School, Red Bay High School and Vina High School as receiving the bronze-level national ranking given to some of the top-ranked schools in the U.S.
“I am very proud of our faculty, staff, administrators, students and our community as a whole for receiving this recognition and for their continued dedication to education,” Russellville Superintendent Rex Mayfield said.
“I appreciate their hard work and for continuing the tradition of excellence that our school system continually strives for.”
Mayfield said this is the second time RHS has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s best high schools rankings – the first recognition coming in January 2009 for the previous school year.
“This is a great achievement for our school system because these rankings are partly based on test scores, and it just shows how hard our teachers work to prepare our students and how seriously our students take their education.”
According to the report, 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia were analyzed to come up with the rankings.
U.S. News collaborated with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C., to use a rankings methodology based on core principles that high schools should be providing all students, not just college-bound students, with a quality education and that the school must be able to show measurable academic outcomes of the success of that education through student performance on state proficiency tests.
The high schools that were analyzed all met the requirements of having a 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data from the 2010-2011 school year for analysis.
Receiving national recognition, which is what all three of the designated local schools received, was also a three-step process that started with analyzing whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state, which was determined through the results of both the reading and math categories on the high school proficiency tests.
It also analyzed whether the school’s least-advantaged students were performing better than average for similar students in the state and what the school’s college-readiness performance would be.
For Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams, he said it was an honor to have two schools recognized by this report.
“We are very pleased with the two schools that were recognized and I believe it says a lot for our administrators, teachers and students,” Williams said.
“It’s great that these schools have been recognized nationally and are thought of that highly.”
Williams said it was also a boost for rural school systems that are sometimes stereotyped because of their size or location.
“A lot of times this type of recognition usually goes to larger schools in larger school systems, but this shows that even though the school may be small or in a rural community, the students are still receiving a quality education,” Williams said.
“I’ve always said we have as good a group of teachers in our school system as there is anywhere and I stand by that.
“They’ve had to work through some very adverse conditions, especially the last four years with the financial situation the way it has been for our system, and they have overcome those challenges.
“I’m very proud of the work our teachers are doing and we hope to continue to make improvements for the betterment of our students.”