Staples Ranks Fifth Public School in State, 302 in Nation

Rachel Guetta, Editor-in-chief

In the 2012 U.S.News & World Report’s “Best High Schools” ranking, Staples placed fifth in Connecticut, and was awarded 302 out of the 21,776 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Weston High School, Ridgefield High School, Conard High School in West Hartford, and Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy in East Hartford all beat out Staples in the rankings, placing fourth through first, respectively.

“I think it’s hard to quantify how good a school is because there are a lot of intangible factors,” social studies teacher Suzanne Kammerman said.

The ranking methodology is based off of factors such as the U.S. Department of Education’s “Common Core of Data” and Advanced Placement (AP) test data. U.S. News used this information to follow a three-step process in producing the 2012 rankings, according to its website.

Step one was to attain performance levels that “exceed statistical expectations given the school’s relative level of student poverty, as measured by state accountability test scores,” the website stated.

Step two was to achieve proficiency rates on state tests for any disadvantaged student groups that exceed state averages.

Step three was to evaluate college-readiness as measured by student participation and performance on either AP tests or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.

The test that was more frequent at a particular school—either AP or IB—was used to assess the school’s college readiness index (CRI), which calculates the level at which high school students were exposed to and/or mastered college-level material.

The information collected from the U.S. Department of Education’s website and published by U.S. News was found directly from the schools and their respective districts. The data used in the rankings is reflective of the 2009-2010 school year.

Some students are disappointed with the results, and do not believe that Staples’ ranking is representative of the school.

“Staples is a top school, and maybe it deserves more credit than it got. Coming from a student’s perspective, it’s a tough school,” Emily Smith ’14 said, “They’re not taking into account our regular classes that are still academically challenging.”

Prideful Staples students may be in denial that the novelty of their 2008 title from Connecticut Magazine as the top high school in Connecticut is wearing off.

“I can’t believe Weston beat us,” Katie Hickson ’13 said jokingly.

However, Josh Rosenberg ’14 maintains that the U.S. News report is “very specific” and “a school in Ridgefield might not have a photography class as good as ours.”