U.S. News and World Reports recognizes county schools

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    New Best High School Bronze 2015All three Montgomery County schools received Bronze Awards from the 2016 U.S. News and World Reports Best High Schools list. The Bronze Award is a nationally recognized award presented to schools who perform better than the state average on certain criteria and test scores.
    Only 17.8 percent of the schools in the United States receive the Bronze Medal distinction. There are 283 Arkansas high school campuses rated with 95  schools honored in the 2016 U.S. News Best High Schools ranking, including one gold medal school, 28 silver medal schools and 66 bronze medal schools.
    Caddo Hills, Mount Ida and Oden High Schools were among the 66 bronze medal schools.
    Schools were rated and judged on four criteria.
    Step one included students test scored in relation to state proficiency tests. Percentage of economically disadvantaged students were also considered.
    English and math scores were used with schools having to perform one third of one standard deviation above the state average to pass step one. The state average for math and English scores were 70 percent.
    Oden topped all county schools in step one with their students scoring 96 percent in math and 86 percent in English. Students did well in both tests with 44 percent testing proficient and 52 percent testing advanced on the math test and 64 percent testing proficient and 21 percent testing proficient in English.
    Mount Ida’s scores were consistently good with students test scores coming in at 87 percent in math and 83 percent in English. There were 39 percent who tested proficient in Math while 48 percent scored advanced. In English 50 percent tested proficient and 32 tested advanced.
    Caddo Hills students tested well in math, scoring 91 percent, but they were just under the state average in English with 65 percent. They tested 59 percent proficient and 32 percent advanced in math, and 52 percent proficient and 12 percent advanced in English.
    Step two involved comparing school’s math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students with the statewide results for these student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than their state averages.
    Oden blew the state average for step two by nearly 40 percent. Disadvantaged students scored 100 percent proficient or better, while non-disadvantaged students scored 92.3 percent proficient or better. Oden students outperformed the state average for disadvantaged students by 38.7 percent.
    Oden High School Principal William Edwards attributed their success to the hard work of his staff.
    “Our teachers make the most of every minute they have with the students. Any success we have in testing is a reflection of their efforts.” He said.
    At Caddo Hills disadvantaged students actually outperformed non-disadvantaged students 83 percent to 81.2 percent. Caddo Hills students outperformed the state average for disadvantaged students by 21.7 percent.
    Mount Ida students did well also with 80.7 percent of disadvantaged students scoring proficient while non-disadvantaged students scored 85.1 percent. Mount Ida students outperformed the state average for Disadvantaged students by 19.4 percent.
    Step three involved high school graduation rates. Schools had to graduate 68 percent or more of their seniors to qualify for step three.
    Mount Ida topped the list of county schools with a 97 percent graduation rate, while Caddo Hills graduated 95 percent and Oden graduated 69 percent.
    Mount Ida High School Principal Ron McGuire attributed his school’s success to students and teachers.
    “I give all the credit to our students and teachers. They work hard to perform at their best throughout the year.” McGuire stated.
    Caddo Hills High School has 268 students enrolled in middle school and high school. 20 percent of their student body are minorities with 16 percent identifying as Hispanic, three percent identifying as Asian and .4 percent identifying as American Indian/Alaskan Native. Gender distribution is 53 percent male and 47 percent female. Seventy-three percent of students are considered economically disadvantaged with 58 percent receiving free lunches and 15 percent participating in the reduced lunch program.
    Mount Ida High School had 267 students enrolled in middle school and high school. Only three percent of Mount Ida’s student body are minorities with one percent identifying as Hispanic, one percent as American Indian/Alaskan Native and .4 percent as Black. Gender distribution is 52 percent male and 48 percent female. 69 percent of students are considered economically disadvantaged with 51 percent receiving free lunches and 17 percent participating in the reduced lunch program.
    Oden High School only had 104 students enrolled in middle school and high school with 13 percent identifying as minorities. Eight percent identifies as two or more races, four percent identified as Asian and one percent identified as Hispanic. Gender distribution was 51 percent female and 49 percent male. Seventy-one percent of students were classified as economically disadvantaged with 62 percent receiving free lunches and 10 percent participating in the reduced lunch program.
    Statistics used in the story can be found along with a complete list of ranked schools at http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools