has been named one of America’s Best High Schools by two different publications in two seperate assessments.
The ranking by U.S. News and World Report placed Orono ranked 11th of 786 high schools in Minnesota and 587th of 21,776 high schools nationwide.
Data from 49 states and the District of Columbia was examined.
Newsweek ranked OHS ranked 14th of 20 Minnesota schools and 486th of the nation’s top 1,000 high schools.
“This kind of validation on a national level is extremely rewarding and supports the compliments we continuously receive from families about Orono High School,” said Orono Superintendent Dr. Karen Orcutt. “Our graduates are accepted into the nation’s top colleges and universities and, even better, tell us how well prepared they were for a rigorous college experience."
For the U.S. News and World Report ranking, a three-step process was used to determine the schools to be distinguished. It was developed by Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research, one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.
The first two steps ensured that schools serve all of their students well, using performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks.
For schools that qualified, the third step assessed the degree to which schools are preparing students for college-level work through analysis of Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate programs. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools.
The analysis used 2009-10 data to determine both the number of AP courses available and the success rate of students taking AP tests.
Newsweek looked at more than 2,300 to produce its final list.
To determine the rankings, data in six areas was assessed: the school's four-year graduation rate, college-acceptance rate, number of AP and other high-level exams given per student, average SAT/ACT scores, average AP/college-level test scores and the number of AP courses offered per student.
“These awards are a testament to the dedication of our teachers and guidance staff at the high school, the work ethic of our students and the support from our families and the entire community,” Superintendent Orcutt said. “Every district resident should take great pride in this distinguished award.”
Orcutt added that from “Academic Planning” in eighth grade on, students in Orono focus on achieving their post-high school educational and career goals. For those planning to further their education, the high school has increased the number of AP courses and reorganized its guidance office to better assist students and their families.
“Dissecting test data, conducting focus groups with OHS graduates and training teachers in best instructional practices are a few of the activities that fuel our quest for continuous improvement,” Orcutt said. “When we’re named one of the best high schools by two national publications, we know all of our efforts are paying off.
Orono Public Schools serves 2,750 students in grades K-12 from the communities of Independence, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetonka Beach and Orono.