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New London — New London High School was awarded a bronze medal as part of U.S. News & World Report's "2014 Best High Schools" rankings, the school's first national recognition.
The news was kept secret from the school's staff and revealed at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon that included school, city and state officials.
"We know the experience we are providing our kids is just as good as or better than most high schools when you look at student outcomes of all learners," Principal William "Tommy" Thompson said. "This is a testament to the caring, competent staff that serves our kids daily."
U.S. News & World Report, in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research, analyzed 19,411 high schools in the country and evaluated them based on performance on state assessments and college readiness, as measured by participation and performance in Advanced Placement exams.
Bronze medal schools "performed better on state reading and mathematics assessments than their poverty level would lead one to expect," had "disadvantaged student subgroups that performed better than the state average," but were below the median score for college readiness, according to the group's published methodology.
New London High School was recognized for raising Connecticut Academic Performance Test scores in all sub-groups during the 2011-12 school year. That year, the school's 10th-graders posted the highest scores in more than five years in all categories of the standardized exam, The Day reported.
"The last five years have seen dramatic improvements in student achievement, of which everyone can be proud," Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer said. "What must be said is that in addition to a total community effort, what makes New London High School outstanding is the honesty of its community members about the work that lies ahead. We know we can do better and we will."
The school is one of 4,707 schools across the nation to earn a recognition from U.S. News & World Report. Forty-three other high schools in Connecticut were recognized, including Lyme-Old Lyme High School, which received a silver medal and was ranked 20th in the state and 537th nationally.