Rutherford B. Hayes High School was recently rated in the top 15 percentile for Ohio high schools, but Principal Ric Stranges hopes the school can climb even higher.
U.S. News and World Report recently announced the results of its annual ranking and rating of high schools in the United States and ranked Hayes 3,164 out of the 17,857 high schools in the country and 110th out of the 872 high schools in Ohio.
Stranges said he was glad to get some good news.
“I think when you get an email saying, ‘Breaking news: Rutherford B. Hayes High School is a winner,’ especially in a pandemic, it’s a breath of fresh air,” Stranges said. “Even in a pandemic, our high school has achieved. It makes you feel good.”
The rating is given after evaluating several factors, including college readiness, math and reading proficiency, and graduation rate.
U.S. News and World Report’s data states that at Hayes, 39% of students have taken at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam; 25% of students have passed one AP exam; 69% of students are mathematically proficient; 77% are reading proficient; and Hayes’ graduation rate is 94%.
Stranges said the information shows the school has improved on its ranking from previous years.
“It sure showed us some growth even when times are down and things aren’t always positive, our students are making gains, our teachers are teaching, and our parents are supporting us,” he said. “We moved up quite a few spaces. Those are all positive things. It’s a good feeling to be in that group. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s validation for our persistence. … The feedback you get is invaluable.”
Stranges said he’s excited to be in the top 15% of Ohio schools, but he aspires to even greater heights.
“I wanted to be top 100, but we’ll take it,” Stranges said. “Any time a large public high school can be in the top 15% is good. The feedback you get from these also shows you areas of concern. Whatever it is, if it’s something I think we can improve then it’s something we’ll tackle the following year. It’s a nice stamp of approval. We can do better and we will, I promise you that.”
The data for the report is based on the 2018-2019 school year, and Stranges hopes the school’s upward trend continues, adding all the credit goes to the high school staff and students.
“We’ve just tried to keep getting better, incrementally better,” Stranges said. “It’s been steady progress. We’ve gotten better every year. I just want to continue to be good. I don’t deserve the credit. It’s not me, it’s everybody working hard to try and improve our practice. Even in the pandemic I’ve never seen such growth and ability to change on the fly to try and engage students. It’s been an amazing year. Difficult in many ways, but the growth that they have shown has been amazing.”
Stranges added he’s proud of the school, the students, the staff and the community.
“I will never ever give up on trying to provide a place where our kids can thrive and our staff can grow,” he said. “I’m so proud of all the efforts everyone is making collectively. We’ll get where we want to be by the time it’s all said and done.”
Editor’s note: The rankings of the other three public school districts in Delaware County will be shared in upcoming stories in The Gazette.