VHS earns gold medal from U.S. News and World Report

downloadBy CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News

Vandegrift High School was one of only four Central Texas high schools to receive a gold medal as one of the Best High Schools in Texas based on the 2014 U.S. News and World Report.

VHS was ranked the 41st best high school in the state and 347th best in the nation. Rankings are determined by a number of factors including reading and geometry proficiency, overall student performance, disadvantaged student performance, college readiness and Advanced Placement student performance.

VHS Principal Charlie Little said VHS was ranked nationally among many charter and magnet schools, which are able to choose which students can attend their school. The number one school on the list is School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas.

“Many of the top schools are specialized schools where the students apply to go there,” Little said. “It’s like if you were comparing all colleges and you compared Harvard to ACC. It’s hard to crack that 400th rank because of that.”

The data used for the ranking is actually from the 2012-13 school year, he said. Since that time, the school’s enrollment has grown from 1,456 to 2,055. He said he expects the school to do even better in the 2015 ranking due to the strength of the school’s AP program. According to the report, 68 percent of students participated in AP exams with a 73 percent passing rate.

He said this was the first year for VHS to earn the gold medal ranking.

“It’s a nice validation that our teachers are doing a really good job for all our students,” he said.

Statewide, 357 Texas schools made the list out of 1,492 high schools. Other Central Texas high schools to make the list are Westwood High School, ranked 23rd in the state; Westlake High School, ranked 25th in the state, and Lake Travis High School, ranked 83rd in the state. VHS was the only LISD high school to make the list.

In the state’s new accountability ranking system, VHS is in the same comparison group as Westwood, Westlake and Lake Travis high schools. VHS was recently recognized as being a quartile 1 school, which means it scored in the top 25 percent of its comparison group. Each comparison group is made up of 40 schools from across the state with similar demographics.

“We are excited and welcome the chance to be ranked and compared to the 40 of the best high schools in Texas,” Little said.