U.S. News bestows AZ high schools with medals

December 11, 2008

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: Mara Knaub, The Independent,]

Two schools in Navajo County- Joseph City High School and Mogollon High School in Heber – were recognized with bronze-medal designations by the U.S. News & World Report magazine in its annual America’s Best High Schools issue.

U.S. News teamed up with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 research and analysis business that provides parents with education data on, to produce the rankings. They analyzed academic and enrollment data from the 2006-2007 and ranked 21,069 public high schools, including charter schools, “to find the very best across the country.”

The top schools were then placed into gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention categories.

The analysis is available on and newsstands as of Dec. 8 in the magazine issue dated Dec. 15-22, 2008.

U.S. News’ Robert Morse explained that the schools were judged “based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those who are bound for college and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show that the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

He noted: “A three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.”

The Top 100 schools received gold medals based on the College Readiness Index.  All other schools with a College Readiness Index of at least 20 but that are not ranked in the top 100 nationally received silver medals.  Bronze medal schools either do not offer AP or IB or do not achieve a College Readiness Index of at least 20 but successfully meet the other two key performance indicator criteria.  Schools that achieved very high levels of college readiness but only partially met state test performance criteria were awarded an honorable mention.

Navajo County

  • Joseph City High School, which has an enrollment of 156 students, achieved a State Test Performance Index of 96.4 and a Poverty-Adjusted Performance Index of 1.14. The school had a minority enrollment of .6 percent and a disadvantaged student enrollment of 32.1 percent.
  • Mogollon High School, which has an enrollment of 199 students, achieved a State Test Performance Index of 87.7 and a Poverty-Adjusted Performance Index of 1.01.
  • According to U.S. News, the State Test Performance Index is a measure of the mastery of state tests. The Poverty-Adjusted Performance Index measures the “distance” from statistically expected performance, using the relationships between poverty and the state performance index. Only values of 1 or greater meet the criteria for selection, U.S. News said.
  • The minority enrollment measures the percentage of minority students (black or Hispanic) enrolled in the school. The disadvantaged student enrollment measures the percentage of student poverty, usually based on those receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

State rankings

In Arizona, three schools received gold medal schools, 10 received silver medal and 32 received bronze medals.  The three schools that won gold medals and ranked in the U.S. News Top 100 High Schools were Basis Tucson (No. 13), University High School in Tucson (No. 22) and Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff (No. 59).

The schools that garnered silver medals were Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Hamilton High School in Chandler, Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, Mountain View High School in Mesa, Sabino High School in Tucson and Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix.

The other schools which received bronze medals were Academy of Math and Science Tucson, Amerischools College Preparatory Academy in Tucson, Arizona School for the Arts Phoenix, Bisbee High School, Colorado City K-12 Public School, Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Dobson High School in Mesa, Empire High School in Tucson, Foothills Academy in Scottsdale, Greenway High School in Phoenix, Heritage Academy in Mesa, Highland High School in Gilbert, James Madison Preparatory School in Tempe, Mesa High School, Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Patagonia Union High School, Ray High School in Kearny, Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Rio Rico High School, Skyline High School in Mesa, Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson, St. David High School, Technology and Leadership Academy in Gilbert, Tempe Preparatory Academy, Vail High School in Tucson, Tri-City College Preparatory High School in Prescott, Tuba City High School, Veritas Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, Washington High School in Phoenix and Westwood High School in Mesa. Last year, St. Johns High School received a bronze-medal designation.