Two school in Shelby County have been named among the best high schools in Alabama, according to the 2016 U.S. News and World Reports “Best High School” rankings.
Oak Mountain High School is ranked 11th and Chelsea High School is ranked 24th in the state rankings. On the national rankings, Oak Mountain High School is at 1,225th and Chelsea High School is at 2,210th out of 19,908 schools nationwide. Both Shelby County schools were among 2,173 high schools (representing only 10.9 percent) who were awarded silver medal status as part of their ranking.
According to their website, to produce the 2016 Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News & World Report teamed with North Carolina-based RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm.
RTI implemented the U.S. News comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on these key principles: that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
They started by reviewing 28,561 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some of those schools had to be eliminated from consideration, mainly because they were too small to be analyzed. This reduced the count to 19,908, which is the total number of public high schools across the country that had high enough 12th-grade enrollment and/or sufficient enrollment in other grades during the 2013-2014 school year to be eligible for the rankings.
In a major change to the Best High Schools rankings methodology, U.S. News has added a new step this year focused on graduation rates. High schools that make it past the first two steps of the methodology, which remain unchanged and are detailed below, now have to meet or exceed a national standard high school graduation rate to be considered top-performing schools and to be ranked at a national level.
This marks the first time graduation rates have been used in ranking high schools at this scale. As part of this effort, U.S. News has published graduation rates for all high schools on its website for the first time.
A four-step process determined the Best High Schools. The first three steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using their performance on the math and reading parts of their state proficiency tests and graduation rates as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first three steps, a fourth step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work. Read more about the ranking methodology here: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/how-us-news-calculated-the-rankings.
The schools that make up the top 25 in the state include:
- Loveless Academic Magnet Program (Montgomery)
- Booker T. Washington (Montgomery)
- Mountain Brook High School (Mountain Brook)
- Huntsville High School (Huntsville)
- Homewood High School (Homewood)
- Bob Jones High School (Madison)
- Virgil Grissom High School (Huntsville)
- Spain Park High School (Hoover)
- Ramsay High School (Birmingham)
- New Century Tech Demo High School (Huntsville)
- Oak Mountain High School (Birmingham)
- Auburn High School (Auburn)
- Hewitt-Trussville High School (Trussville)
- Vestavia Hills High School (Vestavia Hills)
- Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School (Montgomery)
- Hartselle High School (Hartselle)
- James Clemens High School (Madison)
- Cullman High School (Cullman)
- Sparkman High School (Harvest)
- Hoover High School (Hoover)
- Athens High School (Athens)
- Jacksonville High School (Jacksonville)
- Muscle Shoals High School (Muscle Shoals)
- Chelsea High School (Chelsea)
- Wetumpka High School (Wetumpka)