Gatton Academy Named Top 5 High School in U.S.

By: Bob Skipper - iReporter Email
By: Bob Skipper - iReporter Email

The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at Western Kentucky University has been recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of the nation’s top five high schools.

America’s Best High Schools 2011, released today (June 20), recognized more than 500 schools from across the United States. The Gatton Academy appeared on Newsweek’s list of “Public Elite” high schools in 2009 and 2010. This is the first occasion in which the Gatton Academy received a fixed rank.

Only the School of Science and Engineering Magnet in Dallas, School for the Talented and Gifted Magnet in Dallas, BASIS Tucson in Tucson, and Stanton College Preparatory in Jacksonville, Fla., finished higher on the list.

Newsweek unveiled a new methodology for its rankings this year that seeks to highlight schools that focus on providing solutions to the challenges of 21st century education and prepare students for both college and life.

Each school’s score is comprised of six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college matriculation rate (25 percent), Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken per graduate (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores (10 percent), and AP courses offered (5 percent).

Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of the Gatton Academy, expressed her excitement for the Academy’s recognition and added that the methodology describes only a part of the unique learning opportunities available to students at the Academy.

“The students at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky deserve the outstanding recognition that comes from being named fifth in Newsweek’s list of Best High Schools,” Dr. Roberts noted. “In addition to the academic considerations for Newsweek’s list, Gatton Academy students have opportunities to engage in research, make presentations and publish journal articles, study abroad, and experience leadership in numerous capacities.”

More than half of Gatton Academy students engaged in study programs abroad during the previous academic year, with opportunities in Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, China and Switzerland. Moreover, 70 percent of Gatton Academy students participated in a research project sponsored by a university faculty mentor.

Faculty and staff, particularly those at WKU, play an important role in the development of students both in and out of the classroom, according to Gatton Academy Director Tim Gott.

“This recognition would not have been possible without the full partnership we have with Western Kentucky University,” Gott said. “Having access to top professors and instructors, the university’s research facilities and the overall focus on excellence on campus, provide the rigor, relevance and relationships that are imperative for student success.”

Gott also explained the honor is something that is shared with the 100-plus public school districts in the state that have partnered with the Gatton Academy to engage students from more than 103 Kentucky counties.

“This honor highlights the outstanding students from across the state,” he said. “We share this recognition with each of the schools these students represent. Being among the top schools in the nation shows the strength and caliber of young people across the Commonwealth.”

The Gatton Academy, which opened in 2007 and is funded by the Kentucky General Assembly, is the commonwealth’s only state-supported residential high school with an emphasis in math and science.

“The Kentucky General Assembly is to be commended for making such an opportunity available for Kentucky high school juniors and seniors with talent and interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Dr. Roberts said.

Other Kentucky schools recognized include duPont Manual in Louisville (62), Beechwood in Ft. Mitchell (192), South Oldham in Crestwood (270) and Ballard in Louisville (319).

Contact Corey Alderdice, (270) 745-6565.

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