Local high schools named among top 2,000 in nation

Four of the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s high schools are among the best 2,000 in the nation according to Newsweek and the Daily Beast.

Andover, Blaine, Champlin Park and Coon Rapids high schools made the Top 2,000 list — along with 46 other state high schools — which ranks schools “that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads,” according to Newsweek.

“Our teachers and principals have been working hard to improve student achievement and have more students graduate who are college ready,” said District 11 Associate Superintendent Jeff McGonigal.

Principals say they’re excited to be on the list and add it’s a supportive school community — especially among students — that breeds the kind of success necessary to make this kind of list, he said.

“Coon Rapids has a strong, supportive and positive culture in its student body — they believe in Cardinal Pride and Cardinal Nation,” Coon Rapids High School Principal Annette Ziegler said.

The educational components are important, too, according to Ziegler. The school is active in trying to get more students into advanced learner courses and to take ACT and SAT tests, Ziegler said.

And while there’s plenty of excitement, Blaine High School Principal John Phelps said the work is by no means done. “We are excited that we made the list but we’re far from satisfied,” he said. “Our instant goal is to move up on that list — to be number one.”

According to McGonigal, each school’s goal is to reach 100 percent graduation rates and have 100 percent proficiency for its students.

As to Anoka High School’s exclusion, he said, “I know the data compares very favorably with our four schools on this list and I am confident their student performance is very close.”

The Newsweek/Daily Beast list is based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent) and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).