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RHS cracks U.S. News Top 25

For the first time since the list was established, Russellville High School has made the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top 25 High Schools in Alabama. 

Coming in at No. 21 on the list, RHS broke into the Top 25 with an Alabama Education Report Card grade of 90. School officials said this is a major accomplishment considering the state report card does not take into account the high percentage of students whose first language is not English at RCS and the 63 percent of students on free and reduced lunch status – two factors that can typically affect a school’s performance on state testing and college readiness capabilities. 

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said he is excited to see RHS receiving this much-deserved recognition. 

“What you’re seeing is the result of hard work and dedication from our students, our faculty and staff to set their goals high and to do what is necessary to reach those goals,” Grimes said. “We make sure our students know there is nothing they can’t achieve if they put in the work to make it happen. There are no factors that can hold them back or keep them from succeeding if that’s what they want to do.

“I know our teachers give them all the tools they need to reach those goals and to be successful.”

The ranking of the Top 25 High Schools in Alabama is based on six factors: 

• College readiness, 30 percent, which includes the proportion of seniors who took and earned a qualifying score on Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate exams at some point during their high school career. 

• Reading and math proficiency, 20 percent, from testing in the 2018-19 school year. 

• Reading and math performance, 20 percent, calculated as expected performance given a school’s student body characteristics. 

• Underserved student performance, 10 percent, evaluating how well an underserved subgroup scored on state assessments compared with the average for non-underserved students among schools in the same state. 

• College curriculum breadth, 10 percent, calculated as the percentage of seniors in 2018-19 who took and passed multiple AP/IB exams. 

• Graduation rates, 10 percent, based on the 2018-19 school year.

RHS Principal Jason Goodwin said the factors by which these rankings are determined is a testament to how dedicated RHS is to making sure every student is receiving the best education possible. 

“With the U.S. News & World Report looking at our achievements and also looking at how well our underserved student population is performing, we hope this sends a message to our community and others that, no matter what, students will receive a quality education at RHS and be prepared for whatever plans they have after high school,” Goodwin said. “Last year we were ranked No. 28 and just missed being in the Top 25. This year, we’ve moved up seven spots to No. 21, so it’s exciting to see our growth being documented and recognized.” 

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