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Two Forsyth high schools rank among states best

FORSYTH COUNTY — Two Forsyth County high schools are ranked in a national list of top-performing high schools in the state and country that was released this week.

South Forsyth and Lambert received gold medal status from the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked them at No. 15 and 18, respectively.

Of the Georgia schools ranked in 2015 for the U.S. News “Best High Schools,” 19 were awarded gold medals, 45 earned silver and 69 received bronze medals. To earn a state ranking, a school must achieve gold or silver status.

According to the report, most of the top 10 high schools are in the South, and Georgia ranked No. 12 in the nation.

“We are working hard in our high schools to prepare our students to be college and career ready, and this recognition affirms it by considering results on statewide assessments, as well as [Advanced Placement] and [International Baccalaureate] exams,” said Forsyth County School Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

“Also, having the highest graduation rate out of Georgia’s 15 largest school districts the past two years has shown that we are making progress.”

South ranked 408th in the nation and 192nd for STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Indicators such as college readiness, math and English proficiencies and student-to-teacher ratio were also factors.

South also recorded an Advanced Placement participation rate of 65 percent and a student-teacher ratio of 18:1.

“We value the consistent achievements and expectations for challenging rigor for all of our students,” said Jeff Cheney, South’s principal. “We have been very fortunate to have exceptional students, outstanding parent and community support and teaching staff that is second to none.

“This ranking, along with other academic rankings … help keep our educational community motivated and focused on performing at the highest levels.”

Lambert was ranked nationally at No. 479, had an AP participation rate of 63 percent and a 19:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

“It is a true testament to the hard work of the students, staff and community that put education and kids first,” said Lambert Principal Gary Davison. “Being only six years old, we are honored to be recognized with so many outstanding schools. Our community and county work together to make this honor a reality.”

The list was compiled based on three factors. First, whether students were performing better than statistically expected for students in their state.

Also taken into account was whether schools’ disadvantaged students — black, Hispanic and low-income — were outperforming others in that category in the state, according to the report.

Finally, college-readiness performance was examined using AP and IB test data as the benchmarks for success, depending on which program was largest at the school.