Education

West Liberty, Linn-Mar high schools ranked as Iowa's best

Cedar Rapids Community School District buses at the Education Leadership Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 7, 2014. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Community School District buses at the Education Leadership Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 7, 2014. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

West Liberty High School is the best in Iowa, according to a U.S. News and World Report high school ranking released Wednesday. Linn-Mar High School in Marion was ranked second.

The annual ranking measures high schools based on state-mandated exam scores and their college preparation efforts.

Reached by The Gazette via phone Wednesday, West Liberty High School Principal Brenda Arthur-Miller let out a loud cheer. She then explained she hadn’t known about her school’s first-place ranking until a reporter called.

“Number one!” the first-year principal said. “I need to process a little bit more. We have a great high school — I know we’re a very diverse population, and we have a lot of advanced placement offerings, and those are two criteria it’s based on.”

The magazine analyzed data on more than 28,000 public schools in 50 states and Washington, D.C. In Iowa, 118 schools are in the national ranking. No Iowa schools were awarded gold. Linn-Mar and West Liberty were two of 14 schools ranked silver, and 104 schools were ranked bronze.

All the Iowa high schools ranked silver:

1. West Liberty High School

Location: West Liberty

Graduation rate: 95 percent

College readiness score: 48.3

2. Linn-Mar High School

Location: Marion

Graduation rate: 95 percent

College readiness score: 43. 7

3. Ames High School

Location: Ames

Graduation rate: 93 percent

College readiness score: 42.4

4. Valley High School

Location: West Des Moines

Graduation rate: 98 percent

College readiness score: 40.4

5. Ankeny Centennial High School

Location: Ankeny

Graduation rate: 97 percent

College readiness score: 33.4

6. Decorah High School

Location: Decorah

Graduation rate: 99 percent

College readiness score: 31.8

7. Cedar Falls High School

Location: Cedar Falls

Graduation rate: 96 percent

College readiness score: 27.3

8. ADM Senior High School

Location: Adel

Graduation rate: 99 percent

College readiness score: 26.6

9. Johnston Senior High School

Location: Johnston

Graduation rate: 96 percent

College readiness score: 26.1

10. Waukee Senior High School

Location: Waukee

Graduation rate: 99 percent

College readiness score: 25.2

11. Williamsburg Jr.-Sr. High School

Location: Williamsburg

Graduation rate: 95 percent

College readiness score: 24.7

12. Pleasant Valley High School

Location: Bettendorf

Graduation rate: 97 percent

College readiness score: 24.4

13. Ankeny High School

Location: Ankeny

Graduation rate: 97 percent

College readiness score: 23.7

14. Norwalk Senior High School

Location: Norwalk

Graduation rate: 96 percent

College readiness score: 21.1

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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