U.S. News analyzes 31,242 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. That number was reduced to 19,411 schools, which is the total number of public high schools across that county that had enough 12-grade enrollment and sufficient data from the 2011-2012 school year to be eligible for the rankings.
McNairy Central Principal Mickey Murphy was pleased, but was not surprised when he heard the school had been honored with the award.
“I have been at McNairy Central as a teacher and principal and I knew it was a great school,” said Murphy. “I’ve known all along that our school was a top school. I’m proud someone else has noticed that we provide a great education for our students.”
To produce the 2014 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools rankings, U.S. News teamed up with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research, one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.
“I feel this award could change the perception in a positive way for our school,” commented Murphy. “I hope our students will take this honor."
AIR implemented the U.S. News comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
A three-step process determined the Best High Schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.
The first step determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state. For those schools that made it past this first step, the second step determined whether the school's least-advantaged students – black, Hispanic and low-income – were performing better than average for similar students in the state.
Schools that made it through the first two steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step – college-readiness performance – using Advanced Placement test data as the benchmarks for success.
There were categories named by US News. McNairy Central was listed in the bronze category. MCHS was one of just 88 schools in the state to be honored this year by US News.
McNairy Central achieved this award despite that 53 percent of the students are considered economically disadvantage.
The school’s students almost reached 70 proficiency in Algebra and English.
McNairy Central’s requirements for graduation are higher than most area schools because of the senior projects that each student must pass to get a diploma.