New Castle News


April 28, 2014

Two local schools ranked among best in state

NEW CASTLE — Two Lawrence County schools have the distinction of being ranked as Best Schools in Pennsylvania.

In its annual review that calculates values based on state proficiency standards in math/reading and college readiness, U.S. News and World Report and the American Institutes for Research ranked Union High School 53rd and Shenango High School 54th. Both schools received silver rankings.

Schools are ranked according to gold, silver and bronze divisions.

Union received a bronze rating in 2013 and a silver in 2014.

This is the second year Shenango has made the list.

“All the accolades go to the students and teachers with pure hard work and tenacity,” said Mike Ross, Union’s high school principal. “Preparing kids for college is our top priority.”

Union has 58 students in its 2014 graduating class and Ross pointed out that about 96 percent plan to further their education in some capacity with only one or two immediately entering the work force.

“The biggest factor is how motivated our kids are to learn. We do more with less resources than some more affluent schools. We take pride in our culture around here.”

Being a small school is not viewed as a barrier but used as a motivational tool, Ross said.

At Shenango, principal Joe McCormick explained, “I’m really excited about the strength of our Advanced Placement program that is growing and expanding very year. It is just one key indicator that our students are graduating more and more college and career ready each school year.”

McCormick also acknowledged that growth of science and math performance indicators during the last 10 years has been exceptional. 

“Our students work incredibly hard and respond to challenging curriculum we present them with;113+169+ our families give our teachers and students exceptional support, and our teaching staff offers highly quality instruction and learning opportunities for the students.”

Of 690 Pennsylvania high schools, 169 were ranked with seven receiving gold awards, 49 schools getting silver awards and 113 schools receiving bronze awards. The remaining 521 schools were unranked.

The U.S. News rankings ranked more than 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We will continue to work hard and see what we can do better,” Ross said. “There’s always room for improvement.”



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