TRAVERSE CITY — Four area high schools are among the top public high schools in Michigan, according to nationwide rankings.
Traverse City West Senior High School ranked ninth in the state; Leland Public School ranked 20th; Traverse City Central High School ranked 21st and Benzie Central High School ranked 37th in U.S. News & World Report’s list of top high schools in Michigan.
The Michigan schools were included in the news magazine’s annual survey of more than 21,000 public high schools across the nation.
West jumped five spots this year from its ranking on the same list in 2012. Principal Joe Tibaldi attributed his school’s improvement to an increase in the number of West students who take Advance Placement courses, and to roughly 80 percent of the students who took AP tests who scored a 3 or better.
”I’m proud of the fact our students are stepping up and and wanting to take more rigorous courses,” Tibaldi said.
AP classes are designed to offer students college-level work loads and instruction. Students in most cases earn college credit by scoring a 3 or higher on AP tests.
National and statewide rankings were based on three factors: student performance on math and reading proficiency test compared to statewide averages; math and reading proficiency tests scores for minority and low-income students compared to statewide averages; and student scores on AP and International Baccalaureate tests compared to nationwide test data.
Leland Public School Superintendent Jason Stowe said it was impressive for a small school in a northern Michigan community to rank in the top 20 high schools statewide.
Stowe credited all of the Leland district for contributing to the high school’s ranking.
“For small schools like us I think it’s a district-wide accomplishment,” Stowe said. “While the high school is very successful, I think it starts in kindergarten and works its way up.”
West, Leland, Central, and Benzie Central finished 586, 876, 891 and 1,359 in the national list, respectively.
The Washington Post this month ranked Traverse City West Senior High School and Traverse City Central High School as the 21st and 23rd most challenging high schools in Michigan.