In the recent report, Best High Schools in the Nation published by U.S. News and World Report, Seneca High School was recognized as the tenth best high school in the state of Wisconsin.
“(This) demonstrates that our school can compete with the best in our state and the nation,” said district administrator Dave Boland.
How did a tiny school achieve this?
U.S. News and American Institutes for Research evaluated 21,035 high schools across the nation, including 446 in Wisconsin. They analyzed student to teacher ratios, participation and success of students in advanced placement testing, and proficiency in math and reading skills, and both performance of and disparity between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students. Of the schools analyzed, only 4,800 nationwide, those that the data indicated were exemplary, were ranked.
The specific data for Seneca:
• a student to teacher ratio of 10:1;
• a reading proficiency rating of three on a scale of five (state average = 3.1) with 41-percent testing as proficient and 36-percent as advanced;
• a math proficiency rating of 2.9 on scale of five (state average = 2.8) with 59-percent testing proficient and 23-percent as advanced;
• a proficiency rating of 81.8-percent for disadvantaged students and 79-percent for non-disadvantaged students;
• successful participation in Advanced Placement comprising 25-percent of graduates;
• and an economically disadvantaged population – 48-percent of the students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.
Seneca High School received a silver medal ranking, the highest the school has received in this annual study. Seneca has been awarded the bronze medal ranking in three past years.
“To be recognized in the top-ten on a list of 439 Wisconsin schools, where wealthy and urban Shorewood district is named number one, is truly a great achievement,” Boland noted.
“Seneca’s top ten rating for Wisconsin High Schools by the US News and World Report reflects the high level of achievement attained by their students and the outstanding work the district is doing to ensure students are career or college ready upon graduation,” commented Jerry Fiene, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Rural School Alliance. “This award clearly illustrates the great things being accomplished in small, rural schools."
Seneca’s ranking places it in the top 25 percent recognized in the report and the top six-percent nationally.
“This award reflects the dedication of our students and parents, the quality of our staff, and the commitment of the community towards our school district,” Boland concluded after noting the entire school community deserved congratulation for the recognition of their efforts.
Schools were ranked within each state, as well as on a national stage. In the national rankings, 500 schools earned gold medals, 1,790 were awarded silver and 2,515 took home bronze.
Wisconsin ranked 23rd nationally, with only one school, Shorewood, receiving a gold, and 46 schools achieving a silver medal ranking.
Of the 4,800, only 616 went to remote rural schools, which includes Seneca. Nearly 70-percent of awards went to urban and near-urban schools.
“The fact that half of the schools ranked in the top 50 high schools in the state are rural exemplifies the excellent quality of education taking place in rural Wisconsin and the value of these schools to their communities,” Fiene added.
Other area schools to receive recognition were:
• Prairie du Chien –ranked 30th in Wisconsin (silver)
• Viroqua High School – ranked 34th in Wisconsin (silver)
• North Crawford High School – ranked 44th in Wisconsin (silver)
• Kickapoo High School – bronze award
A complete list of school rankings can be found online at www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.