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.