Two Local Schools Make Top 100 List
A feather in the cap of some North Central Florida schools today. Newsweek Magazine is once again recognizing some local schools.
Two schools that made the list can be found in Alachua County, but schools not on the list aren't necessarily lagging behind. This, in part is because the ranking is based on letter grades but two key factors: AP's and IB's.
It's not just students who can make the honor roll. School's across the country compete to make Newsweek Magazine's Top 100 public high schools.
"It's certainly bragging rights for schools across the nation," says Jackie Johnson, spokesperson for the Alachua County School Board.
Topping the list at #16 is Eastside High School, with Buchholz High School coming in at #94. And it's no wonder, students at Buchholz are no strangers to hardwork.
"I'm with all these really talented kids...going to Stanford, Harvard and Yale," says Countney Sanford a senior at Buchholz.
Sanford -- herself an accomplished mathematician on the school's winning team --- is among several dozen students in advanced placement at the school, a key factor in Newsweek's scoring formula.
"If you look at the way Newsweek does their rankings they place a very heavy emphasis on the number of students taking AP and IB tests," says Johnson. Which many argue unfairly overlooks other high schools where students excel.
In the AP English class, students use technology to execute their personal essays. Their teacher explains the role teachers play in their student's achievement.
According to Nancy Smith, AP English teacher at Buchholz, " [Teachers] spend a lot of time outside of the classroom coming up with methods and lesson plans that will help in original creative ways to get kids ready for those tests."
But the question many have posed is how good are tests as measures of intelligence?
"A lot of really smart kids who don't do very well on their SATs and ACTs or FCATs because they're not good test takers," says Sanford, who wants to major in engineering at the University of Florida next year.
According to Smith, "I think very often the difference between AP students or some in a standard class is motivation."
For this school's Assistant Principal, making Newsweek's list isn't just a measure of the school, David Shellnut, the two biggest ingredients are having fantastic students and fantastic teachers."
Not to be left out Alachua County school board officials say that Gainesville High School has also been recognized by Newsweek for being in the top two-and-a half percent of schools nationwide.
By Stacey Samuel, WCJB TV20 News
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