Last year Riverbank High School (RHS) received a Bronze ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools” report that they publish to identify the top-performing high schools in the United States. This year RHS has moved up the rankings and has been awarded a Silver designation and is ranked at number 520 in the State of California.
“As you can imagine, we were surprised and proud to have received such recognition from a national publication,” said RHS Principal Sean Richey. “According to their rankings, RHS ranks in the top 10 percent of high schools across the nation in preparing students – all students regardless of race or economic status – for their chosen college or career.”
According to the Analytical Methodology and Technical Appendices prepared for U.S. News & World Report, the rankings are based on three aspects of school performance: the performance of all students on state assessments in reading and mathematics; the performance of disadvantaged student subgroups—defined as Black/AfricanAmerican students, Hispanic/Latino students, and students who are eligible for free or reducedprice lunch or who are economically disadvantaged as determined by the state—on these assessments; and the degree to which high schools prepare students for college by offering a collegelevel curriculum.
In order to advance from the first step, RHS needed to have higher achievement than high schools with similar proportions of economically disadvantaged students. The second step identified high schools in which disadvantaged students or economically disadvantaged as determined by state criteria (often defined as students eligible for free or reducedprice lunch through the National School Lunch Program) had combined reading and mathematics proficiency levels that were at least equal to the state’s average reading and mathematics proficiency levels for all disadvantaged students. This step is to make sure that high schools that move to step three successfully educated all students, regardless of their socioeconomic or racial/ethnic backgrounds.
“Riverbank High School (has) continued to improve on all facets of student success and school climate over the past few years and the U.S. News and World Report is just another indicator that the school is headed in the right direction,” stated Dr. Daryl Camp, Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent. “RHS provides a family-like environment for students and staff which minimizes the drama that exists on a larger high school campus.”
The final step of the analysis measured the extent to which students were prepared for collegelevel work. The college readiness index (CRI)—created for the “Best High Schools” rankings—accounted for 12thgrade student participation in and performance on AP or IB examinations. The CRI was used to determine which high schools passed the final step to become silvermedal high schools as listed in the report.
“We are seeing a trend of fewer students being suspended and the campus appears to be very calm,” added Camp. “Additionally, last year, a record percentage of 10th graders passed both the English and Mathematics portions of the California High School Exit Exam on their first attempt.
“At the senior awards night in May, I was impressed with the number of students who will continue their education beyond high school and especially impressed to see that we’ll have representation at many of the University of California and California State Universities.”
RHS has recently had a Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation visit in which it was awarded the maximum number of years of accreditation of six years.
“At the end of the day, any ranking system is subjective at best and cannot entirely quantify the experience of individual students attending any given high school,” expressed Richey. “I think Riverbank High School is one of the hidden gems in the Central Valley and I view this ranking as acknowledgement of the tremendous work that our students and staff perform every day.”