RHS earns No. 1 ranking as Standout High School
Russellville High School has been ranked as the No. 1 Standout High School in Alabama by the school ranking site Niche.com, which school officials say is a great honor for RHS and for the school system as a whole.
In order to be considered for this ranking, schools had to meet certain criteria. While similar lists have been released in the past that only considered factors such as test scores, the percent of students who go on to attend college or student-teacher ratios, the list for Standout High Schools in Alabama took other issues into consideration as well, which RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said he believes gives a more accurate representation of the achievement and growth taking place at RCS.
While factors such as ACT/SAT test scores and colleges attended are still factored into this list, Niche also included factors such as the percentage of students considered to be economically-disadvantaged; the percentage of economically-disadvantaged students who are math and reading proficient; the percentage of economically-disadvantaged students who graduate high school; the percentage of minority students who graduate; and the student racial diversity index.
Grimes said these are certainly factors that RHS and the school system as a whole have to deal with and work with on a daily basis. At Russellville High School, 63 percent of the student population receives free or reduced lunch based on economic status, and the system’s backdrop of diversity is highlighted by RHS’ Niche ranking of No. 15 out of 376 schools on the Most Diverse High Schools in Alabama list.
Grimes said the fact RHS was ranked No. 1 for Standout High Schools in Alabama with these factors considered is a testament to the caliber of students and teachers in Russellville City Schools.
“We strive to teach our students that no matter what kind of disadvantage you may have – economically, academically, physically, or otherwise – you can still do great things,” he said. “Our disadvantages don’t have to define us. Our disadvantages don’t have to be an excuse to not try hard. We have to use these things to motivate us to be better, work harder and achieve more.
“Yes, we have several uphill battles we face daily at our schools in different areas,” Grimes added, “but it’s not something we use as an excuse because we fully believe that diversity and challenges should be embraced and should be approached with an overcomer’s attitude instead of a defeatist or excuse-giver’s attitude.”
RHS Principal Jason Goodwin echoed Grimes’ celebration of the ranking. “This is the first time anyone has really looked at who we are and the adversity we have overcome,” Goodwin said. “Our growth has been astronomical, and it’s great to let people know what and how we are doing because our kids deserve it.”
Grimes said this first-place ranking validates the system’s approach of an “overcomer’s attitude.”
“The result is making achievements and meeting goals that truly show the hard work, dedication and perseverance our students and faculty have to overcoming these obstacles no matter what and the effect things like our AP program through A+ College Ready have,” Grimes said. “When you have many factors working against you, and you’re still able to achieve and succeed, that is what I believe is truly commendable.”
Grimes added, “We might not have the advantages some systems have in certain areas, but we do have the advantage of having self-motivated students and teachers who are constantly pursuing excellence. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of advantage to have, and this is something our community should be proud of.”