COLUMBIANA - A Columbiana County school has moved up in its ranking among the state's best high schools in U.S. News and World Report, and it is the only county school to hold the silver medal ranking.
A few other Columbiana County schools earned a bronze medal, earning them a nationally recognized ranking but no state ranking.
Columbiana High School moved from No. 91 to No. 86 out of 115 schools that earned gold or silver medals. Of those, 22 earned gold and 93 earned silver, according to the Report.
To be ranked students must earn at least 20 credits in various subjects, including economics and financial literacy. Columbiana's students achieved higher proficiency in math and science compared to the average state comparison, according to the report.
The school is ranked No. 1,639 in the nation and is one of the 9 percent that earned a silver medal. Silver is awarded to high performing schools with lower college readiness while gold is awarded to the top 500 schools based on highest college readiness.
High School Principal Lance Hostetler attributed the jump in ranking from last year to its attempt to get more students involved in advanced placement (AP) courses.
The school is also above the state average for college readiness, according to the report.
"We've been trying to update our advanced placement options. Not really expanding, but trying to get more kids involved in our AP programs. We feel the possibility of earning college credit during your high school years is really important. We are trying to push our kids to take more challenging courses that they can handle," he said.
The school is also looking at implementing some type of intervention programs for students who may be struggling academically.
"If we can increase their achievement academically we are going to work on that by putting some programs in place to do that," he said.
There are currently 301 students enrolled at the high school and its AP participation rate is at 39 percent, the report indicated.
"I attribute our success mainly to our students. We have great students. They are an absolute joy to work with every day and obviously we have great families here in our district, and a great staff," he said.
Local high schools awarded a bronze medal status were Crestview, with an AP participation rate of 24 percent, United Local, with a participation rate of 3 percent, and West Branch, with a participation rate of 2 percent. The three schools are among the 129 state schools awarded that medal.
According to the U.S. News and World Report there are 832 high schools in the state and of those, only 244 earned a ranking in the publication.
Schools earning a top ranking were mostly located near the state capital of Columbus or in Cincinnati, it stated.