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Ocean Springs named top high school in Mississippi

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In the 2018 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, three Mississippi schools earned silver badges and 54 earned bronze, making the cut of the 30 percent of schools nationwide that scored high enough to earn a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Best High Schools recognition.

There are three levels of medal award winners. In total, U.S. News nationally ranked the 5,948 highest-scoring schools as gold, silver or bronze in the 2018 rankings.

The report reviewed 28,813 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. That number was reduced to 20,548 schools that were eligible to be ranked.

Ocean Springs High is ranked first within Mississippi. The district was lauded for its participation rate in Advanced Placement (AP) course work and exams. The AP participation rate at Ocean Springs High is 44 percent.

Dr. Bonita Coleman, superintendent of the Ocean Springs School District, said being ranked as the No. 1 high school speaks volumes about the work of students, teachers, and stakeholders.

“This type of achievement does not happen by accident; it happens through hard work and planning,” Coleman said. “While earning this ranking feels good, it feels even better knowing OSHS is providing students what they need to succeed in the future. However, we cannot rest. Our goal will be to continue to provide the best education possible to our students.”

To rank the schools, the report looked to see if students exceeded expectations in their states, if underserved students performed better than the state average, if student graduation rates met a threshold and if students were prepared for college-level coursework, as indicated by participation in and passage of AP and International Baccalaureate (IB).

Lewisburg High is ranked second in Mississippi. The AP participation rate at Lewisburg High is 43 percent.

Corey Uselton, superintendent of DeSoto County Schools, said national accolades validate the hard work taking place at every level in the district.

“We are excited that Lewisburg High School received a silver medal and that four other high schools (DeSoto Central, Olive Branch, Center Hill, and Hernando) received bronze medals from the U.S. News and World Report,” Uselton said. “With five high schools in the top 13 high schools in the state, this is a testament to the hard work of our teachers, students, administrators, and staff.  I am very proud of their efforts.”

Petal High is ranked third in Mississippi. The AP participation rate at Petal High is 33 percent.

“We are excited to learn that we have been recognized nationally for our outstanding efforts at Petal High School,” said Dr. Matt Dillon, superintendent of Petal School District. “The Petal School District and Petal High School are committed to being the best in our state and highly competitive across the nation.  I am proud of our students, staff, families, and community. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, it is very fitting that we recognize the efforts of our great teachers who go above and beyond daily for our students.”

The top 500 high schools earned the Gold designation, about 2 percent, for highest college readiness. The silver designation is awarded to high-performing schools, about 11 percent, based on lower college readiness. The bronze designation is based on state exam performance, about 16 percent of high schools.

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