Columbus High ranked fourth-best school in Georgia by U.S. News

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comApril 30, 2014 

The Muscogee County School District administration building is at 2960 Macon Road.

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

U.S. News & World Report has again ranked Columbus High School among the best in the state and nation.

And for the first time, the magazine “recognized nationally” Carver High School, Early College Academy of Columbus and Kendrick High School.

Columbus High is ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 104 in the nation. The high school improved from No. 5 in the state and No. 202 in the nation among last year’s rankings. It is the Muscogee County School District’s only total magnet high school, meaning it doesn’t have any attendance zones and all of its students are enrolled from throughout the county.

“I’m happy with the improvement, but we want to be #1 every year,” Columbus High principal Marvin Crumbs wrote in an email. “The students work really hard and the teachers provide high-quality instruction every day in an effort to reach our yearly progress goals. The results of the ranking come from teacher and student effort and our commitment to excelling in all classes, especially AP (Advanced Placement) Courses. We want our students to be fully prepared when entering the college or university of their choice.”

The honor was a first for Carver High, Early College and Kendrick, though they didn’t receive a ranking but are designated as “recognized nationally.” They have attendance zones as well as magnet programs within the schools.

“We are obviously very pleased to learn that these schools are being recognized nationally by this respected publication for their commitment to enhanced academic improvement,” Superintendent David Lewis wrote in an email. “It also reflects the hard work of motivated students, dedicated teachers and leaders and committed school communities. I am personally pleased with this recognition because it demonstrates the level of excellence that is my goal for this district, which will only serve to benefit our community as a whole.” Carver principal Chris Lindsey added that the designation shows the school is fulfilling its goal to “prepare our kids for what they face after high school, whether that’s college, the armed forces or the world of work.”

Asked what is behind Carver’s success, Lindsey said, “The best thing about Carver High School is we’re a family. We treat our kids like they’re our own kids. We don’t reach everybody, but we try. The majority of our kids are economically disadvantaged, but we don’t allow that to be an excuse.”

Early College also serves students from predominantly low-income families. Susan Willard, the school’s dean, credits “our great teachers who are wiling to go the extra mile, who are wiling to listen and work together as a collaborative team.”

The key, she added, is “never being happy with the status quo.” That’s why she declared, “Next year, we’re going to have a number (in the rankings). We want to move up.”

Kendrick High principal Alonzo James wasn’t reached for comment.

Other schools in the Chattahoochee Valley included in the rankings were Auburn High School (No. 6 in Alabama, No. 833 in U.S.) and LaGrange High School (No. 28 in Georgia, No. 1,004 in U.S.)

Schools that did not receiving a ranking but were designated as “recognized nationally” were Beauregard High School, Eufaula High School, Lanett Senior High School, Marion County (Ga.) Middle/High School and Stewart County High School.

According to the magazine’s website, U.S. News & World Report, in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research, analyzed data from 31,242 public high schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to produce this year’s rankings. The field was whittled down to 19,411 schools that had sufficient enrollment and data from the 2011-12 school year. The rankings are based on state tests and an assessment of how well the schools prepare their students for college.

The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas is ranked No. 1 in the nation. The top-ranked school in Georgia is the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, which is No. 3 nationally. The top-ranked school in Alabama is Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery, which is No. 18 nationally.

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.

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