Local schools shine in national ranking

HOUGHTON – Copper Country high schools again fared well on the U.S. News & World Report ranking of top high schools in the country, with two receiving silver medals from the magazine.

Houghton High School and Calumet High School both qualified for silver status, finishing 27th and 51st in the state, respectively. Receiving bronze were Baraga High School, Chassell High School, Dollar Bay High School, Ewen-Trout Creek High School, Hancock Central High School, Jeffers High School, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School and Ontonagon Area High School.

U.S. News used a three-tiered process to determine honorees. Schools were first judged by if their students performed better than statistically expected. If so, they were then evaluated based on whether the least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic and low-income) performed better than similar students elsewhere in the state.

The final criterion, and the one that determined if a school would get a medal, is college readiness. U.S. News built a weighted index based on the percentage of students who took a test for a college-level class and how many passed one of them.

Houghton High School was the top-ranked school in the Upper Peninsula, finishing 27th in the state, and 1,079th in the country.

“I feel the credit goes to the students, and all our staff, K-12, parents and community support,” said Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil.

The school offers six Advanced Placement courses: biology, chemistry, calculus, English, world history and geography.

“That is driven by student interest,” said High School Principal Julie Filpus, who said last year’s senior class had been “exceptional.” “They are able to get through the regular sequence in some of our content areas and go into AP. I really feel the teachers in those classes devote an enormous amount of time delivering content that will prepare students for the exam.”

Calumet High School finished 51st overall and 1,745th in the country.

Principal George Twardzik said he’s proud of the work done by students and staff.

“That’s really the reason we have the medal, is because of our students and the work they do and the work of our staff and the support of our community,” he said. “It’s a process of everyone working together – parents, students and staff. It’s nice for them to get recognized for their hard work.”

Calumet High School has AP classes in literature, composition, calculus, biology and chemistry. There, too, Twardzik said it’s been a team effort.

“AP classes are certainly demanding,” he said. “There’s a lot of work, the expectations are high – it’s a college-level course. Students have to have some ability, but they have to work hard and be committed to that. The staff members who teach that have done an outstanding job. Not only does it take a lot of work for the students, but it takes a lot of work from the teachers who teach the class. And certainly everything needs the support of the parents and the community.”