Woodstock gets top ranking by national magazine
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | December 03,2012
WOODSTOCK — A Windsor County high school received some good news from a national publication recently.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Woodstock Union High School is one of the top public high schools in Vermont and the nation in their 2012 “Best High Schools” report. Woodstock ranked sixth in the state and 1,207th (the top five percent) nationally in math, reading and college readiness.
Principal Greg Schillinger said this is the highest level the high school has achieved since the magazine began the rankings.
“I think they are an affirmation of what we already know about our school,” Schillinger said. “There is really great instruction going on and we have a very supportive community.”
U.S. News and World Report teamed up with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research to conduct the national high school rankings. They analyzed 21,776 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia and measured them according to state proficiency test performances.
The magazine looked at reading and math scores and compared them to state student averages. The rankings also took into account the number of students enrolled in advanced placement courses, which are college courses taught at a high school level.
Woodstock was 85 percent proficient in reading and 51 percent proficient in math and had a 37 percent AP participation rate. The ratings were above state average.
A variety of factors contributed to Woodstock’s success. According to Schillinger, teacher-to-student ratios played an important role. The ratio in Vermont is 10 to 1. Woodstock is below the state average with a ratio of 9 to 1.
Educators say that small class sizes contribute to learning and teachers can work with students on an individualized basis.
“I think we make great efforts to identify individual student strengths. We have a mission statement that talks about the promise of discovery in each of us. We do that every day,” Schillinger said. “We look for what (each) individual is good at and capitalize on that strength. It’s about making the school as individual as we possibly can.”
Stowe High School ranked first in the report of Vermont high school rankings. The top ten (in order) are Stowe, Essex, South Burlington, Mount Mansfield, Colchester, Woodstock, Lake Region, Rutland, Middlebury and Mill River high schools.
Woodstock’s Superintendent of Schools Alice Thomason Worth said she was really pleased by the news.
She said the high school excels at preparing students for life after high school and will continue to do so.
“It’s a wonderful identification and we’re looking at other areas to improve upon so we can continue to do the wonderful things that are recognized by this particular analysis,” Thomason Worth said.
To view the U.S. News and World Report study go to www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/vermont.