In a U.S. News & World Report ranking of Colorado’s best public high schools, Durango High School came in 66th and Bayfield High School was 79th, based on factors such as test scores and graduation rates.
The report ranked 272 of the 513 public high schools in the state, using data from the 2017-18 school year.
DHS Principal Jon Hoerl said to his knowledge this is the first time the school has been ranked by the report and it is a reflection of the school’s emphasis on academic rigor over the last three years.
“The report is just a way to celebrate the intentional work so far,” he said.
The report ranks schools, in part, on the percentage of seniors who took at least one Advanced Placement class and passed at least one AP exam. If students pass their AP exams, they can earn college credit.
At DHS, 52% of seniors took at least one AP test and 33% passed at least one AP test in 2017-18, the report said.
The school has been increasing the total number of AP classes available and seen the number of students participating in those classes increase from 179 to 425 students over the last three years, Hoerl said. The school has also seen the percentage of students passing tests increase, he said.
The report also examines graduation rates and performances on tests, such as the SAT and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests. The school’s graduation rate in 2017-18 was 86%. The academic performance of underserved students, such as minority students and those living in poverty, is also evaluated by the report.
Bayfield School District Superintendent Kevin Aten said his district keys in on high graduation rates, rather than a score from U.S. News, but the high ranking is a testament to the success of the district as a whole.
The ranking showed 35% of BHS seniors took an AP course and 27% passed one AP test. The school also achieved a 91% graduation rate in 2017-18.