Harding Charter, Classen Make Top 50 National High Schools List


Harding Charter Preparatory High School and Classen School of Advanced Studies, both in Oklahoma City, have been named among the top 50 high schools in the nation by TheBestSchools.org.

Harding Charter is No. 23 on the list; Classen is No. 36.

“This is an honor to have two schools in our state recognized among the best schools in the nation,” State Superintendent Janet Barresi said. “We applaud the work of the educators at these schools who train their students to be completely prepared for the demands of college and the work force in the 21st Century and to be good citizens.”

According to The Best Schools website, public high schools must produce measurable academic outcomes across a large number of academic indicators to be included on the top 50 list. “A great public high school will have a good reputation with recruiting colleges and be highly ranked in measures of student satisfaction and faculty quality.”

ACT and SAT scores, average weighted GPA, and the API (Academic Performance Index) are used as a proxy for the educational environment within a high school. These scores are adjusted to account for students who come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds.

Public high schools also are evaluated on the degree to which they prepare each student in the high school community to enter and excel at college. The number and breadth of Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered, honors courses, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, and relationships with local colleges are major factors in determining the level of academic preparedness for college. The number of students scoring 3 or better (a passing grade) on final AP tests is a telling predictor of post–high school academic performance.

The final assessment consists of intangible factors, such as innovative degree programs in the arts, diversity of the student body, current student satisfaction with their high school, quality and experience of the faculty, or modern lab or athletic facilities. Also, the ranking organization has striven for as much geographical diversity as is consistent with its other criteria.

Notes included in the ranking for Harding Charter Preparatory High School included, “Harding Charter Prep is exclusively focused on preparing students to attend the college that is the right fit for their abilities and interests.”

“Despite Harding’s excellent reputation and rankings, there are no requirements as to which students can attend. There are no tuition fees or entry tests required.”

“The school instills in students the expectation that they will go to college, no matter what their socioeconomic background. The school places a high premium on community service, and requires service hours from both students and their parents.”

Harding Charter Preparatory High School also ranks #68 for Best U.S. High Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Notes included in the rankings for Classen School of Advanced Studies included, “The Classen School of Advanced Studies is a public, magnet high school which offers IB diplomas, as well as fine arts classes. Students joining the school choose a major, whether within the IB program or in one of the many specialized fine arts programs offered” and “Students are not restricted to classes based on their majors, but each major does have a structured course load. The school’s arts program has won several awards and honors at the state level.”

Classen School of Advanced Studies is ranked among the Top 100 in the Challenge Index by the Washington Post and #14 by Newsweek. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Schools.

Click this link to see the full listing.

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Last updated on April 15, 2013