Limestone magnet school ranked No. 12 in nation

Posted Dec. 12, 2008, at 6:45 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:05 a.m.

LIMESTONE — The Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone is again in the national spotlight after being ranked No. 12 on the list of America’s Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

This is the second year MSSM has been ranked in the top 100, but this year they ranked higher. Last year the school was ranked No. 35.

U.S. News & World Report and School Evaluation Services announced the 2009 America’s Best High Schools rankings last week, highlighting their picks for the top 100 public high schools in the country.

This is the second year for the rankings. This list recognizes more than 1,900 schools in 48 states, which is up from the 1,600 schools in 40 states in 2008.

Sharon Daigle-Gerrish, director of public relations and a humanities instructor at the school, said students and teachers at the facility were ecstatic about the ranking.

“When the announcement was made, the students got together and started clapping and cheering for themselves,” she said Friday. “We have 125 students here, and they all work very hard. This is great news.”

The Limestone school is the state’s only magnet school. Students from throughout the country spend two or more years at the school taking part in a rigorous curriculum in advanced science, mathematics and humanities.

Daigle-Gerrish said the news was even more exciting from a teacher’s point of view.

“I am looking at this as a teacher, and I am so proud to be a teacher here,” she said. “This says that our students are very well-prepared for college. It says that the teachers are doing a great job.”

Three primary factors were evaluated to rank the schools: achievement levels for all students in the core subjects of reading and math on state accountability tests; ability to achieve proficiency rates on state tests for the school’s least advantaged student groups; and providing students with a challenging college-ready curriculum, measured through a college readiness index derived from participation and performance on AP tests.

Daigle-Gerrish said the school found out about its ranking just a day before the magazine hit newsstands on Dec. 8.

“It has definitely given us exposure within the state,” she said Friday. “We have three open houses each year, and we’ve already held two. Those have been very successful. We have seen a marked increase in the number of families who attended, inquiries about the school have increased, and visits to the school have increased. Last year we were number 35, now we are number 12. That says a lot about the school and what we have to offer.”

The list of the top 100 public high schools is available at www.usnews.com/highschools.

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