ALTON -- Alton School Superintendent Sheila Wheeler announced last week that Alton High School has been named one of the best high schools in the country by the U.S. News and World Report, a highly respected national magazine.
"We were one of only 29 schools in Missouri that achieved the distinction," Wheeler said.
A total of 18,790 public high schools across the country were analyzed in a complicated three step process comparing academic and enrollment data to determine the list of top performing schools in America.
"Our school was only rated on two steps. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks," she said.
"The first step determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in their state. They looked at reading and math test results for all students on each state's high school test. They then factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students (who tend to score lower) enrolled at the school to find which schools were performing better than their statistical expectations," she said.
For those schools that made it past this first step, the second step determined whether the school's least advantaged students (black, hispanic and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state.
"They compared each school's math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students with statewide results for those disadvantaged student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than the state average," she said.
Both Wheeler and Alton High School Principal Dave McQuerter said they were thrilled with the recognition.
The superintendent said she received the news Dec. 5. "It was one of those days that made you so proud of the work the faculty, staff, and students have done," Wheeler said. "I think another reason we are so successful in our school district is that parents help their children and work well with our teachers."