Hudson -- On April 22 members of the Hudson High School family were given news which most of them already knew.
The high school was named one of the best in Ohio by U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Best High Schools in America. The school ranked No. 6 in Ohio and given gold medal status. Last year HHS was ranked 13th in Ohio.
The school also ranked 179th out of 19,400 schools nationally, which met the criteria for the annual ranking.
The report used data from college readiness and proficiency exams, such as Advanced Placement and Ohio Graduation Test examinations. The data also includes the number of students exposed to AP courses, passage rates, student to teachers ratios.
The high school was also named one of America's Most Challenging High Schools in the Washington Post rankings, released April 23. The school was ranked 296th in the nation, up from 460th in 2013. The Washington Post rankings are based on the number of college-level tests given at a school in the previous calendar year divided by the number of graduates that year.
"We are thrilled to be on the list with such high achieving schools--and we've been moving up," Hudson High School Principal Brian Wilch said. "It's no secret that we have talented and motivated students, an outstanding teaching staff, and very supporting and involved parents--that's a recipe for success and we're grateful to have all three elements in Hudson."
Wilch credited the students, teachers and a variety of others, including retired guidance counselor John Frahlich, and East Woods Principal Paul Milcetich, and departmental leaders "who not only established the vision of adding opportunities for students to challenge themselves through Advanced Placement offerings, but also worked to sustain the growth these past four years who deserve much credit," for the high rankings.
"We've grown the program from 695 tests taken by 395 students to over 1,540 exams administered to over 600 students, while maintaining a 75 percent or higher passage rate," Wilch said. "In the same time period, we've increased AP opportunities from 16 courses to 23 next fall."
Gains have also been made by promoting college-level rigorous programming and encouraging sophomores to perform at their best on the Ohio Graduation Tests.
"Talented students engaged in challenging curriculum delivered by competent, caring teachers is making a difference in Hudson," Wilch said. "And, it's not just a high school accomplishment--the entire K-12 program is built upon prerequisite skills and competencies beginning with our youngest students."
More than 95 percent of HHS graduates go on to college due to the collective effort of district schools, Wilch said.
"We think they're being well prepared by having exposure to college coursework without leaving high school--and those passing AP scores can translate into significant tuition savings for mom and dad."
Superintendent Phil Herman said he was "thrilled to see the U.S. News and World Report ranking."
"I am very proud of the work of the students, parents, teacher, and administrators that have lead to a steady climb in our rankings," he said. "The improvement in the scores cannot be attributed to any one factor; however, a continual focus on professional development, our teachers' collaboration with one another, and the growth in AP course offerings continue to have a positive impact on our student performance results."
While the rankings are for high school students, Herman said it was important to realize the students received help from a variety of areas, including "involved parents, a supportive community, and the preparation our students receive for high school at the elementary and middle school levels."
"This ranking is truly a recognition of our entire school system and the community," Herman added.
Assistant Superintendent Doreen Osmun agreed with Wilch and Herman.
"This recognition is based on the high school data, yet we must remember the sound foundation many of our students experienced in the earlier grades," Osmun said. "We are very proud and excited about the ranking and about moving up among the high schools in the state and in the nation. "
Osmun credited the scores to the "perfect combination " of schools, students, teachers, administrators, parents, and a community that supports the efforts.
It is important to look at the methodology of used in the rankings, Osmun said, because each organization considers different metrics.
"U.S. News and World Report uses predicted levels of student success, our proficiency rates for students in specific federal subgroups, and college readiness which is measured by the number of AP tests administered and successful passage," Osmun added. "One consistent factor to success is our teachers and administrators are committed to continuously providing the best instruction and learning environment for our students."
And even with the high rankings, the district is not ready to relax.
"Hudson has never rested on laurels, though we do need to celebrate and share this honor with our schools and community," Osmun said. "We are grateful to everyone who contributes to the excellent school community and we are committed to improving not only academically, but in the arts, wellness, and athletics."