By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools
Central Magnet School has maintained its ranking as the best high school in Tennessee, while moving up the national rankings to fifth place, according to the latest study released by U.S. News & World Report.
It’s been the talk of the school today among teachers, students and several alumni who have contacted the school about the exciting news, said Dr. John Ash, Central’s principal.
And while they would like to hold a celebration of the achievement, Ash says they have AP testing starting next week.
“That’s more important to the kids than celebrating because it saves them money,” Dr. Ash said jokingly.
Central, located on East Main Street near the Murfreesboro Square, serves grades 6-12 and is an academic magnet school available to all students in Rutherford County. Students are admitted based on their academic percentile scores at both the middle and high school levels.
As part of the study, which ranks high schools throughout the country and at the state level, the publication listed Central’s 100 percent participation with AP courses, explaining that all students took at least one AP exam and 92 percent passed at least one AP exam. It also cited the school’s 100 percent graduation rate, the high proficiency with mathematics (94 percent) and reading (99 percent).
In addition to the first-place ranking in Tennessee and the fifth-place ranking nationally for all high schools, the school was also ranked as the fourth best magnet school in the country.
“We have very hard working students and excellent teachers,” Ash said. “We have high expectations of those students and they keep meeting them.”
The school previously ranked as the 10th best magnet school and 44th best overall high school nationally, according to last year’s ranking.
“We’re very pleased with the ranking for Central,” Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said. “They have a history of being top in the state and we wish them continued success. The faculty, staff, parents and students there should be very proud of this continued accomplishment.”
Six other Rutherford County high schools were ranked in the top 100 for Tennessee, out 383 state high schools included in the study.
Blackman (43), Siegel (69), Eagleville (80), Stewarts Creek (82), Oakland (83) and Riverdale (93).
U.S. News & World Report provided the following information about how the rankings were created:
“The highest ranked U.S. public schools in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 rankings are those whose attendees demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading state assessments, passed a diverse array of college-level exams and graduated in high proportions,” states the organization’s website. “Under U.S. News’ revamped 2019 rankings methodology, nearly every public high school was ranked.”
The full study for U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 rankings can be found and searched online.