Jamestown High School ranked top 30 in state

In its 2017 list released Tuesday, U.S. News and World Report ranked Jamestown High School in the top 30 public high schools in Virginia.

The organization looks at overall standardized test scores, graduation rates, college-readiness and how well schools help disadvantaged students by looking at achievement gaps in test scores, according to a U.S. News release.

Jamestown came in 29th in the state this year, falling from 24th in 2016. It’s the only Williamsburg-James City County school on the list, which was the case last year. Most of those ahead of Jamestown are in districts north of Fredericksburg — Fairfax County Public Schools took the top five spots.

“I think that each year when we’re recognized it’s an honor because our students are doing so well,” Jamestown principal Catherine Worley said. “I’m really proud of how well our students are doing and how much our teachers are working to inspire our students.”

U.S. News looked at more than 20,000 schools for the 2017 list, according to the release. Those who scored in the top 500 for college readiness, determined by Advanced Placement test participation and scores, were awarded gold medals.

Jamestown got silver for the second year in a row. Silver schools are still considered high-performing, but ranked lower for college-readiness. A bronze school is high-performing based on state exam results, according to the release.

To be included, schools had to perform above average for their state on reading and math exams, including disadvantaged student populations defined by U.S. News as low-income, black or Hispanic. Graduation rates had to be at least 75 percent and the last measure was AP-determined college-readiness.

U.S. News primarily looked at 2014-15 school year data, according to the release.

In that year, 95 percent of Jamestown students passed reading SOLs and 89 percent passed math — both well above the state’s accreditation benchmarks of 75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math.

For disadvantaged populations, those numbers varied. On the reading SOL, pass rates were 79 percent for black students, 82 percent for low-income students and 96 percent for Hispanic students. In Math, pass rates were 78 percent for black students, 80 percent for low-income students and 93 percent for Hispanic students.

“We’re working very hard to help all populations be successful,” Worley said. “There’s more than an SOL test or an AP test — are the children growing? Are they improving? Are they graduating? We are constantly looking at ways to address achievement gaps and to move all students forward.”

Jamestown had a 93 percent graduation rate in 2015, which fell to 91 percent in 2016.

In the national rankings, Jamestown came in 887th.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

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