2013-05-09 / Front Page

Local High Schools Lauded By U.S. News & World Report

Southern Fulton Jr./Sr. High School, McConnellsburg High School awarded bronze medals
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz


Two county high schools received high praise and commendations from the U.S. News & World Report late last month as part of its annual listing of the best high schools in the nation.

Southern Fulton Junior/Senior High School and McConnellsburg High School were two of 4,805 schools across the United States to receive a gold, silver or bronze medal in the U.S. News online listing published April 23.

According to U.S. News, a bronze-level school, such as those found in Fulton County, had commendable performance results on math and reading PSSA assessment tests during the 2010-11 school year but did not perform well enough on the college readiness index to bump up their listing even further to a gold medal.

In hearing the exciting news last Friday, Southern Fulton School District Superintendent Hervey Hann told the “News,” “I commend Principal Meredith Hendershot and her staff for all the time and effort they put forth. Without their dedication it would be impossible to receive this type of recognition two years in a row. It is also important to recognize the efforts the students put forth to score the best on the state assessments. My congratulations goes out to Mrs. Hendershot, the high school staff and and the high school students.”

Having also been selected for a bronze medal by U.S. News in 2012, the newly released 2013 listing provides an overview of the junior/senior high school in Warfordsburg as well as a breakdown of their above-average achievement test results and academic indicators. The school was deemed as having a math proficiency of 2.8 and a reading proficiency of 3.2, while boasting a student-teacher ratio of 15:1 or 423 students in grades seven through 12 overseen by 28 teachers.

U.S. News further indicates that of the 62 students tested in reading 44 percent were advanced, 40 percent proficient, 8 percent basic and 8 percent below basic. In math, 29 percent of the 62 students tested were advanced, 39 percent proficient, 15 percent basic and 18 percent below basic.

In looking at the schools’ aca- demic indicator of college readiness, U.S. News also considers “students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams to earn college credits and demonstrate success at college level coursework.” In Southern Fulton High School’s case, the AP participation rate is 7 percent. Participant passing rate is 50 percent for an overall college readiness index of 4.2.

Administrators at the Central Fulton School District were equally thrilled to find their Mc- Connellsburg High School included on the 2013 best high schools in Pennsylvania with a bronze-medal listing. District Superintendent Dixie Paruch stated following the announcement, “This is a great honor for Central Fulton School District, and we are very proud of the work and effort our students put forth to achieve. We have dedicated teachers who put students first and do what they can to help them be successful. We are working together for even greater achievements!”

U.S. News reports that of 57 11th-grade students tested in reading in 2010-11, 37 percent were advanced, 40 percent were proficient, 12 percent basic and 11 below basic leaving the school with an overall reading proficiency of 3.0. In addition, the school was listed as having a math proficiency of 2.8 after a total of 56 students took the math PSSA test. Of those students, 34 percent were advanced, 36 percent proficient, 11 percent basic and 20 percent below basic.

Furthermore, participation rate on Advanced Placement exams was 12 percent. Even though participation on AP exams is considered by U.S. News, dual enrollment classes through local community colleges are not factored into the results. Meanwhile, the school’s college readiness index was at a high 7.7.

“I am truly blessed with a great staff and outstanding students, “ said McConnellsburg High School Principal Todd Beatty of his 231 students and 19 teachers. “From our offerings of college courses on site, Advanced Placement courses, and excellent career and technical classes, McConnellsburg offers many opportunities for an excellent education in preparation for college or career. The bronze medal recognition reinforces what I see every day. It is an honor to receive this medal on behalf of the students, parents and staff.”

U.S. News first published its best high school listing in November 2007. The most recent listing included a review of 570 districts in the commonwealth and 687 high schools with 41,570 full-time teachers that serve 603,802 students. The 2013 top-ranked best high school in Pennsylvania is the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School located in Philadelphia.

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