NEWSWEEK’s ranking of America’s Best High Schools is out and Clayton High School has garnered the top spot in the state of Missouri. In addition, it is ranked 89 out of 500 evaluated schools in the country.
“We’ve always been highly rated in the Newsweek poll. To be the highest ranked school in the state of Missouri is an additional honor,” Chris Tennill, chief communications officer for the School District of Clayton, said.
The methodology used to determine a school’s ranking included six criteria. Tennill said that in previous years the criteria focused on a single metric of Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken per graduate and that this year’s evaluation provided a more well-rounded view of the schools.
The six components of a school’s score are: graduation rate (25%), college matriculation rate (25%), AP tests taken per graduate (25%), average SAT/ACT scores (10%), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10%), and AP courses offered (5%). Clayton graduated 100% of its students.
Tennill attributed Clayton’s success to several factors.
“We have a teaching staff that works hard to provide our students with the best education they can. As a district we make our decisions with the students at the heart of them,” he said. “We have a supportive community that gets behind the schools and it has extremely high expectations of what it wants out of the schools. We not only meet but we exceed the community’s expectations.”
As an example of this community support, Tennill cited the 2009 and 2010 bond issue funding.
“Given the recession we’ve been in and budget issues, the community is always willing to financially support us,” he said.
Tennill also said that a community is a reflection of its public schools, and vice versa. He said the fact that two-thirds of the residents in Clayton don’t have children enrolled in the schools yet continue to support them underscores the great situation of Clayton's schools.
The four other Missouri schools that were on the list of America's Best High Schools are (in order of ranking): Metro Academic and Classical, St. Louis; Ladue Horton Watkins, Ladue; Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Kansas City; Rockwood Summit, Fenton.