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Houston, St. Charles ranked top schools (04/28/2013)
By Chris Rogers
U.S. News and World Report ranks Houston and St. Charles

high schools among best in state

The Winona area is home to some of the best schools in the state, according to the magazine U.S. News and World Report. Houston and St. Charles high schools were awarded Silver Medals and high rankings in U.S. News' nationwide "Best High Schools" report. Houston High School was ranked 15th in state and 963rd in the nation, with high scores for reading and college readiness. St. Charles High School placed 24th in the state with high reading scores and strong performance among poorer students.

"This is the third time that we have received this award," said Houston High School (HHS) Principal Todd Lundberg. "The first time, maybe it's a fluke, but third time is saying something." He added, "To beat out affluent schools from big cities is pretty a big deal."

"As a district we are very happy and appreciative that our high school is being recognized as one of the top schools in the nation," said St. Charles High School (SCHS) Principal Ben Bernard. "We think this is great recognition for the hard work that the staff and students have put forth over many years."

Lundberg also credited the effort that staff and students at HHS put in, day-in, day-out. "It shows what kind of students and teachers we have," he said. "People come into the building and their main comment to me is that they can't believe how nice people are to each other and how well they work together." The staff at HHS, he said, are open to trying new ideas, and that allows them to find what works best for kids.

Small class sizes make a difference*, said Houston School District Superintendent Jean Broadwater. She also praised the dedication of HHS staff and the one-on-one attention they are committed to. "We wrap our arms around everybody and make sure we're successful," she said. "When our kids feel safe and become engaged it leads to high test scores."

Broadwater added that she was very proud that little HHS was competing with metropolitan-area schools to be the best in the state.

Arcadia High School received a bronze medal, earning points for high math scores, though it was not ranked among Wisconsin schools. The Winona Senior High School and the Winona Area Learning Center were not honored or ranked by the report.

The U.S. News rankings were based on state testing scores for math and reading, college readiness as measured by participation and performance in Accelerate Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, the performance gap between economically disadvantage students and economically non-disadvantaged students, and the performance of disadvantaged students compared to similar students around the state.

*Houston High School student-teacher ratio is 13:1. The top-ranking high school in Minnesota, Mahtomedi, has a student-teacher ratio of 20:1. St. Charles High School and Winona Senior High School each has a

16:1 ratio. Arcadia High School has a 12:1 ratio.

Houston High School

Silver medal; 15th in Minnesota

33.3 - College Readiness Index*

87% - students proficient in reading

57% - students proficient in math

St. Charles High School

Silver medal; 24th in Minnesota

28.4 - College Readiness Index*

80% - students proficient in reading

62% - students proficient in math

Arcadia High School

Bronze medal

10.6 - College Readiness Index*

79% - students proficient in reading

81% - students proficient in math

Winona Senior High School

Not ranked

11.2 - College Readiness Index*

68% - students proficient in reading

36% - students proficient in math

Source: U.S. News "Best High Schools" *College Readiness Index is a measure of the number of students who took Accelerated Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and how well they did. If every student took and passed an AP class, a school would score 100 


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