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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - December 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

Goodrich, Big Sandy schools get national kudos
Polk County Enterprise - December 2008
ounty high schools received national recognition Friday by making the U.S. News and World Report list of “America’s Best High Schools,” ranking among the top 10 percent of schools in the nation. Big Sandy School and Goodrich High School both earned bronze medals by performing better than statistically expected compared with the state average and by performing better than average among the school’s least advantaged students. The methodology used in ranking schools for the report follows the principles that a great high school must provide a quality education for all students, not just the college bound, and that it is doing so across the board for all students across a range of subjects and performance indicators. Data for 21,069 public high schools in 48 states was used in the three-step process that ranked schools as gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention. In order to receive a gold or silver medal the school must offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, neither of which Goodrich or Big Sandy schools offer.

The fi rst step looked at the statistical performance in reading and math of the students as compared to the average student in the state. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students performing above the state average was then factored in. The second step determined if the least advantaged students (black, Hispanic and low income) were above the state average in math and reading profi ciency. The fi nal step, which judged schools nationally based on college-readiness performance, considered AP and/or IB test data. Of those 21,000 plus schools analyzed, only 9.2 percent were selected – the top 100 for gold, the next 504 for silver, 1,321 for bronze and 17 for honorable mention. Because there is no application process and the study is compiled from state reports, neither Big Sandy nor Goodrich school offi cials realized they had made the list until word trickled down to them. Guylene Robertson, superintendent for G.I.S.D., said a school employee had seen a staff member from a Houston district talking about the report on the television news and had looked to see which schools were on the list and spotted Goodrich High School among those honored. “This honor is representative of the hard work of our students, teachers and staff. It’s really wonderful. We’re on the list because of how well the student body works together – all students,” Robertson said. “One of the things we’ve tried to impress is that all students are gifted – everyone.

We’ve worked hard on improving scores but that’s just one small part in a student’s education. In a small district you have such close relationships between students and faculty and administrators and that support network and community of encouragement is what propels our students to succeed,” Robertson said. Big Sandy Superintendent Kenneth Graham was attending a basketball tournament Friday afternoon when a Polk County Enterprise reporter told him of the school’s bronze medal recognition. While not aware of the school’s award, Graham was not surprised about their achievements with disadvantaged students. “We have a very strong special education program. Everyone works very close together, the teachers, students and parents. The kids work extra time before and after school to be able to pass their tests and they score very well. I am very proud of all our teachers and kids, they all work hard.”



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