By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Delano made the grade this year by being named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
The 2013 ranking names 2,000 public high schools in the nation with the goal of highlighting the top schools for preparing college-ready grads.
The list is based on six components, including:
• graduation rate (25 percent)
• college acceptance rate (25 percent)
• Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB)/Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests taken per student (25 percent)
• average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent)
• average AP/IB scores (10 percent)
• percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent)
College in the Schools
According to Assistant High School Principal Joe Vieau, the criteria Newsweek used may not be the most accurate way to depict college readiness, because it does not take into account the College in the Schools (CIS) dual enrollment program.
Delano High School currently offers about 35 credits through CIS, working with the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, and Southwest Minnesota State University.
Classes take place on the Delano campus, and are taught by trained Delano faculty. According to the U of M, high school students taking U of M courses through CIS are held to the same academic standards as students on the university campus.
“Our students are heavily-invested in the College in the Schools program, and even though that’s not one of the criteria, we’re still ranking among the top,” Vieau said.
One of 46 in the state
Delano High School was one of 46 schools in Minnesota to make the list, and ranked 851 out of the 2,000 schools in the nation that were named.
According to The Daily Beast, all data was self-reported by each school for the 2011-12 school year. More than 5,000 public high schools were invited to participate in the survey, and nearly 2,500 responded.
A few other Minnesota public high schools honored include Edina (121), Eden Prairie (418), Eagan (452), Orono (453), Minnetonka (507), Chanhassen (547), Chaska (984), and Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth (1,324).
At Delano High School, the graduation rate was listed as 98 percent, and the percent of graduates accepted into a college program was 88 percent.
Most students in Delano (between 82 to 85 percent) take the ACT, and average score was 24. The SAT test is mainly used on the US coasts, and less than a dozen students in Delano take the SAT each year. (Delano’s average score was listed as 2,115).
One criteria that hurt Delano’s ratings was the number of AP/IB/AICE tests given per student, which was 0.1.
Vieau explained that Delano High School doesn’t have an IB or AICE program, but it does offer AP coursework. Last year’s average score for AP testing in Delano was 3.6 out of 5.
“Our largest classes for AP testing would be AP biology and AP US history,” Vieau said.
“Over the past few years, we have challenged our students by encouraging enrollment in our advanced courses, while increasing the number of advanced classes we offer,” noted Superintendent Matt Schoen. “At the same time, our teachers continue to strengthen their skills in teaching, as well as test data interpretation. The teaching staff at Delano Public Schools set goals annually to help students improve their test scores, which in turn will help prepare them for college and a future career.”
To learn more about “America’s Best High Schools,” click here.