Woodland makes Newsweek rankings


Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. -FILE PHOTO
Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. -FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Newsweek and The Daily Beast, the magazine’s online presence, released the names of their best public high schools in the nation earlier this month — a list that includes Woodland Regional High School.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Woodland Principal Arnold Frank about making the list. “I think this is a culmination of a lot of hard work of a lot of people over the years.”

High schools were ranked based on their ability to prepare students for college, according to thedailybeast.com. A total of 2,000 high schools made the list and Woodland ranked 1,429 and 28th in the state.  

According to the website, more than 5,000 high schools were invited to submit information for the ranking, which is open to all public high schools in the country, and nearly 2,500 schools responded.

The rankings were weighed heavily on schools’ four-year, on-time graduation rates, participation in college-level classes such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses and acceptance into a two- or four-year college program.

According to a scorecard on thedailybeast.com, Woodland’s graduation rate for 2011 was 94 percent. The percentage of Woodland students accepted into college in 2011 was 82 percent.  

The rankings also factored in average SAT and/or ACT scores, average college-level exam scores and the percent of students enrolled in at least one college-level course.

Woodland’s average scores on the SAT and AP exams were 1,414 and 3.3, out of scale of 1 to 4, respectively, according to the scorecard.

Woodland received an invitation to submit information for the list a couple of months ago, Frank said. This year is the first Woodland, which is in its 12th year of existence, submitted information to Newsweek for the ranking.  

Frank credited the work of faculty and the students along with a commitment to growing the AP program at Woodland with cementing its place in the rankings.

“It’s great news for us. It took a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” he said.

When Woodland was in its infancy, the school only offered a couple of AP courses, Frank said. Now, 13 AP courses are offered.

Students are taking more advantage of the AP courses as well, Frank said. He said more students are taking the courses because they’ve heard about the benefits of doing so from their peers.

Students who receive a 3 or higher on their AP exams can receive college credit. So, Frank said, the courses not only look good on a transcript but can save students money on college as well.

When asked his thoughts on Woodland making Newsweek’s ranking, Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Tim James said it reaffirms the work of students and staff at the school. He added that making the list shows Woodland offers an excellent education with the resources provided, especially when it comes to preparing students for college.

“I’m proud to be the superintendent for the staff, students and the parents associated with Woodland,” James said.


  1. The ranking is meaningless, but Region 16 will tout it to parents hoping to provide the illusion of a quality education. One problem is government education across the nation has been “dumbed down” so much that mediocrity is now accepted as excellence. Moreover, the primary cause for the failure of U.S. students to compete internationally is weak math and science curricula. The statistics that should matter to parents are what percentage of seniors accepted into college can perform first year work without taking remedial classes, what percentage of students finish their degree in four years, and where does WRHS stand on the various international comparative tests that are given. Region 16 spends more than $15,000 per student annually, and they’re looking for more money again from tapped out taxpayers. They should not be allowed to point to this report as evidence that we’re getting our money’s worth. We aren’t.

  2. “more than 5,000 high schools were invited to submit information for the ranking, which is open to all public high schools in the country, and nearly 2,500 schools responded. A total of 2,000 high schools made the list.”

    So, ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLE we’re either 1429 out of 2500 or out of 2000 depending on how you look at it.

    My comments may be laughable to some – but as was said years ago, READING IS FUNDAMENTAL. The only ignorance being spewed here is hte preaching that being in the TOP SEVENTY ONE PERCENT (or rounding favorably, being 7th best out of 10) on this list {which IS what the article is about} is worth bragging about.

    While Woodland does really have plenty of things to brag about, ANYONE can do the math and see that scoring higher than 571 but lower than 1428 simply isn’t one of them.

  3. You do realize there are over 16,000 recognized high school institutions in the U.S. correct? Your ignorance spewed across the comment section of this ‘site’ is at times truly laughable.

  4. With so many things to be excited about at Woodland, is being number ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINE on any list really noteworthy ? What is that teaching ?