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New York Mills school among nation's best

NEW YORK MILLS -- New York Mills High School is one of 28 Minnesota schools among the nation's best, this according to information released by U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine included New York Mills High School in the Bronze Medal Category. Other area schools named were Battle Lake, Rothsay and Underwood.

Todd Cameron, Superintendent of Schools in New York Mills, made the announcement to staff on Dec. 21, congratulating the school for receiving the honor.

The recognition is based on a set of key principles that a great high school must serve all students well, not just those who are college-bound.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the process involved looking at reading and math performance, poverty, and college level courses. Based on a criteria of measurable outcomes, schools could earn a Gold, Silver, or a Bronze award.

There were zero schools in Minnesota to receive the Gold award. Eleven received the Silver and 28 the Bronze.

"Congratulations to our students, faculty, staff, parents, administration, school board, and the entire community of New York Mills!" Cameron wrote in his statement to school staff.

This is the first time New York Mills has received the award.

Schools are judged on three areas of strength, including test scores of those students who sit at or below the poverty level, a calculation determined by a student's qualification for free and reduced lunch.

The 2010 U.S. News & World Report America's Best High Schools methodology, developed by School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research business run by Standard & Poor's, is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.

The study analyzed 21,786 public high schools in 48 states plus the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2007-2008 school year, to analyze. (Nebraska and Oklahoma did not provide full data. Their schools were evaluated for honorable mention, but none met the criteria.)

A three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all their students well, using state proficiency standards as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.