A national magazine's study ranked Hendersonville High School fourth best in North Carolina and two other county high schools, North Henderson and East Henderson, won silver medal recognition.
The rankings were based on an analysis of public high schools across America by U.S. News and World Report. The magazine, which published the report this week, used data on more than 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia to rank the high schools. The measurement awarded schools gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.
Three other area schools also scored well, winning silver medals for ranking among the top 36 North Carolina high schools. North Henderson was No. 24; East Henderson ranked 26th; and Polk County High School came in at 27th. Balfour School and Brevard High School were among 61 schools to earn a bronze medal.
"I think it's a great compliment to the school," HHS principal Bobby Wilkins said, "I think it's a compliment to our teachers as well as our kids. It's always nice to be recognized and I think this is really a recognition of their work."
Wilkins said he learned about the US News article late Tuesday night. He said he has not talked about the honor to the students yet.
"I did send it to the staff. I actually sent them a link so they could read it," he said.
HHS gained points for the percentage of students that take Advanced Placement courses and for its student-teacher ratio.
"The AP participation rate at Hendersonville High is 59 percent," the magazine said in brief sketch of the school. "The student body makeup is 51 percent male and 49 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 28 percent. Hendersonville High is one of six high schools in the Henderson County Schools" including Balfour and the Early College at BRCC.
"We think it's important that kids get as many AP classes as they can if they're ready for for it," Wilkins said. "And we want to be able to offer the courses if they are ready and they do pretty well in them as it shows."
Advanced Placement courses enable high school students to take college level material; if they pass standardized tests on the material they earn college credit and place out of freshman level courses when they enroll in college.
The rankings were based on a college readiness index (students taking AP courses), algebra proficiency, English proficiency and student-teacher ratio, the magazine said.
North Carolina's two gold medal winners were Green Hope High School in Wake County and West Forsyth High School.