Columbus High ranked No. 2 in state for STEM education

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 29, 2014 

Spotted at Columbus High School graduation Saturday evening at the Columbus Civic Center

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Columbus High School is No. 2 in the state for educating students in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, according to a ranking sponsored by Shell Oil Co.

Columbus High trails only the School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Gwinnett County among Georgia public high schools.

“At Columbus High we focus on the math and science standards and emphasize to our students the importance of mastering these standards,” Columbus High principal Marvin Crumbs told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email. “We also make them aware of the importance of STEM classes and the role they play in SAT and ACT success. We continue to offer advanced math and science courses that interest our students as well as challenge them. Outside of class, extracurricular activities such as robotics, math team competitions, and science team competitions provide an added level of STEM enhancement and expression.”

The rankings for Muscogee County’s additional public high schools are: Northside 98, Hardaway 144, Shaw 310, Carver 314, Spencer 361, Jordan 372 and Kendrick 377. The county’s other public high school, Early College Academy of Columbus, isn’t listed in the rankings of 385 Georgia high schools because not enough data was available about the school, which opened with freshmen in 2006-07 and didn’t have a graduating class until 2009-10.

“We usually need about five year’s worth of data to look at.” explained Robert Sanborn, the chief executive officer for Children at Risk, a Houston-based nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, which compiled the rankings for Shell.

Muscogee County School District superintendent David Lewis said in an email, “I am obviously very pleased to learn that Columbus High was ranked second in the state for an award that focuses on STEM disciplines, which are critical areas for the economic enhancement of our community, state and nation. CHS teachers and students are commended for their pursuit of higher level courses and extracurricular activities in these areas. I look forward to studying the criteria and methodology on which this award is based to determine how it can be used to improve student achievement in these areas for all students throughout the district.”

Harris County is ranked 124, and Chattahoochee County is ranked 356.

Shell, headquartered in Houston, had been sponsoring rankings for only Texas high schools. This year, the company expanded the rankings to Georgia, Louisiana and Pennsylvania to coincide with its increased demand for a skilled STEM workforce in those states, according to a news release.

The rankings are based on “a set of math and science specific indicators that capture both performance and engagement in these areas,” the release says. “The indicators include performance on math and science standardized tests and college entrance exams, and offerings and enrollment in advanced math and science courses.”

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

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