When I first moved here, one of the biggest things I looked into as a parent was education ratings.  It helped to determine not just the city I wanted to live in, but especially in the case of Cedar Rapids, what PART of the city I wanted to live in.  When you have kids, or are planning on kids, it's an important decision.  And from the latest reports, we should all feel very happy with how our school compare to the state.

On the heels of the report about the Top 10 Places To Raise A Kid In Eastern Iowa, comes this study from US News and World Report with State High School rankings, and no surprise, this area did well.  Very well.  In fact, we had 4 schools in the top 15 in the state, including 2 that were top 5, and 1 which was #1 for the 3rd consecutive year. That is Kennedy High School.  (Washington is #5, Linn-Mar is #7, and Jefferson is #15) Additionally, all are also national Silver Award Winners.  Not a bad showing.

As an added plus, according to the report, Iowa in general has "has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation."

The US News Best High Schools list is a comprehensive outside measure of a school’s success. After winning the Iowa High School Sports Network IA Traveling Challenge Cup this year, which shows how successful our athletics, arts, and academic programs are, it is nice to have the US News index verify the college readiness of our students.  ~Jason Kline, Kennedy Principal.

So what all goes into these rankings?  Generally, the survey company is looking at key things, like how well a school serves ALL students (not just the college bound), and that there's "measurable academic outcomes" to prove this when looking at a range of indicators.  It's a three step process.  The first step looks at the dreaded Iowa Assessment scores to determine if the school performed better than statistically expected for schools in the state. If the school passes that inspection, the next area looks at how disadvantaged students performed vs. the state. Schools that cleared both of these area were then judged on "College-readiness"; specifically looking at how many students took AP tests and how they did on those tests. Nationally, over 21,000 public schools were looked at.

At this point, I'm feeling a bit of guilt that I skewed my High school's scores year's ago, as I still took the AP Calculus test, even though I dropped the class halfway through the year. Needless to say, I didn't do that great.  Sorry.
FYI, Marion and Prairie were unranked, as only the top 16 get ranked. Also Xavier did not show up, as the report only looks at public schools.

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