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Middletown Transcript
  • Middletown, Appoquinimink ranked top high schools in Delaware

  • Middletown High and Appoquinimink High are the best schools in Delaware, and among the top 1,600 in the nation, according to the latest rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.
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  • Middletown High and Appoquinimink High are the best schools in Delaware, and among the top 1,600 in the nation, according to the latest rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.
    Middletown High grabbed the top spot out of 43 public and charter high schools in the First State, while Appoquinimink came in second in the Washington D.C.-based magazine’s seventh-annual rankings, which were released late last month.
    “Having both our high schools recognized in the same year is an honor,” Appoquinimink School District Superintendent Matthew Burrows said. “It validates the hard work and motivation of our students, teachers, administrators and staff … But it’s more than that. We’re a family. We treat students like they’re our own, and impress on them the fact that we have high expectations for their success.”
    U.S. News worked with the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization to create the three-step process that determined this year’s rankings of 31,242 public and charter high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    The first step examined student performance on each state’s high school proficiency tests administered during the 2011-2012 school year and determined whether schools performed better than statistically expected, with special weight given to the percentage of those students considered to be economically disadvantage as determined by federal guidelines.
    About 19 percent of students at Middletown and Appoquinimink high schools are considered to be economically disadvantaged, meaning their families receiving some type of assistance through the free and reduced lunch program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicaid.
    Yet freshman and sophomores who took the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System in the spring of 2012 outperformed the statewide average for meeting proficiency in both reading and math, according to data provided by the district.
    School across the country that were determined to be outperforming expectations on proficiency exams were then ranked based on how their minority and low-income students performed on those tests in relation to statewide averages among similar students.
    Collectively, black and Hispanic students at both high schools in the Appoquinimink School District, for instance, also outperformed the statewide averages among similar students in both reading and math by a minimum of 10 percentage points.
    Finally, schools that made it through the first two steps were then judged how many seniors took and Advance Placement or International Baccalaureate test and how well those students performed.
    During the 2011-2012 school year, 46 percent seniors at Middletown High took an AP exam with 36 percent of the entire class receiving a passing score. Meanwhile, 30 percent of seniors at Appoquinimink High School took an AP exam with 22 percent of the entire class receiving a passing score.
    Page 2 of 2 - Out of all non-private high schools in Delaware, only Middletown and Appoquinimink high schools made it through the U.S. News’ three-stop process to achieve a national ranking. Middletown High was ranked 820th nationally, while Appoquinimink High was ranked 1,595th.
    “I think this is a culmination of support from the community, hard-working students, the support they get from their parents and our diligent, hard-working staff that keeps expectations high and pushes kids to their limit,” Middletown High Principal Matthew Donovan said.
    Appoquinimink High Principal Gayle Rutter said she also is honored that her school has been recognized by U.S. News.
    “I think this helps to highlight all of the hard work our students and staff put in on a daily basis,” she said.
    The top rankings by the magazine are the latest in a series of accolades the two high schools have received in recent months.
    Both schools were among just seven high schools statewide to be honored by the Delaware Department of Education in March for expanding student access to Advanced Placement courses while maintaining a high level of student success.
    Last fall, Middletown High also received a $50,000 grant from the Delaware Department of Education in recognition of its students’ exceptional performance on state standardized tests.
    Appoquinimink High received a similar grant from the department in 2012.

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