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OHS: #2 in state and a top U.S. STEM school

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Gold MedalOrono High School has been named one of America’s Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report. Orono placed second of the 769 public high schools in Minnesota.  Nationally, Orono was 249th of more than 22,000 high schools nationwide or in the top 1.15 percent of America’s high schools.

OHS placed 97th of the top 500 high schools in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. This was the first year that U.S. News & World Report spotlighted high schools’ success in this interdisciplinary and applied curriculum. Student participation and success in Advanced Placement (AP) tests were used to determine the ranking.

Orono High School continues to rise in the rankings – from fourth place last year and fifth place the year before. In all, only seven Minnesota high schools earned the top recognition of Gold Medal.

“We are thrilled that Orono High School has been recognized again as one of the nation’s top-performing high schools,” said Dr. Karen Orcutt, superintendent of schools. “We have made it our goal to compete with the best schools in, not only America, but the world. We want to assure our students they can succeed in any post-secondary experience in our globally-connected society.

“We are grateful for the support our students receive in becoming their very best,” Orcutt added. “It starts with parents, and grows with a dedicated faculty, school board and administrative leadership, and an entire community that is so very proud of its schools.”

To determine the rankings, the magazine teamed with RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm, which employs a comprehensive four-step methodology.

The first two steps ensure that schools served their entire study bodies well, using performance on state proficiency tests as benchmarks. For schools that qualify, the third step requires schools to meet or surpass a benchmark graduation rate.

Schools that made it through the first three steps are eligible to be judged nationally on the final step – college-readiness performance – using an analysis of AP data as a benchmark of success. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools.

U.S. News & World Report first published the list of America’s Best High Schools in 2007. The magazine believes “high schools are among America’s most important institutions and that education drives this country’s future. Recognizing schools that are performing well and providing them as models to other schools will inspire educators and communities to do better.”

The magazine also states that, by publishing the rankings, “parents across the country will be armed with information to help them make better-informed decisions about their child’s education.”