Herron High School ranked among nation's best

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Herron High School, an Indianapolis charter school, is ranked 26th on Newsweek’s latest list of “America’s Best High Schools.”

The list, released Monday, ranks more than 1,600 schools, including 28 in Indiana.

Signature School in Evansville, at No. 7, was the state’s highest-ranked school. Herron was next, followed by North Central in Indianapolis (511), Zionsville (574) and Carmel (695).

Fishers High School was ranked 1,099th and Hamilton Southeastern was 1,114th.

Other local high schools in the rankings were Lawrence Central (1,276), Brownsburg (1,289), Pendleton Heights (1,412), Center Grove (1,567), Southport (1,575) and New Palestine (1,601).

Newsweek used a “Challenge Index” to determine a school’s academic rigor based on advanced placement course participation.

“Newsweek picks the best high schools in the country based on how hard school staffs work to challenge students with advanced placement college-level courses and tests,”  the report said.

Only 6 percent of the nation’s public schools made the list. The full report can be found here.


  • Think Again!
    Basing education on having a Library on site? Have you seen the library downtown? Have your heard of the internet? Herron kids access libraries all over the world on their tablets...how often do your students use the library for research???? Athletics...guess again..Herron offers athletics for students...we may not have are own facilities...why spend the monies on having our own facilities,when space is available off campus?...How many kids actually go to college for sports & are employed in that career field?...Herron has Athletics! How about schools teaching their students? Herron is doing things right & our students are not falling through the cracks & slid through the system...they are learning life skills, responsibility and accountability, along with a rigorous curriculum. Herron has everything because we do not limit our campus to just our physical address...
  • New ideas....
    New ideas can change world. We must do it now. We see that many past peoples try to do world better. But this is our problem that we can`t do it like they want.
  • Accounts for Diversity
    One positive feature about the Newsweek rankings is that it does not seem to favor test scores and graduation rates as heavily, recognizing instead that a school can offer an outstanding opportunity for ambitious students that live in diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

    I hear no end of negative press about schools like Lawrence Central and Southport, and yet I remain confident that they can offer outstanding, challenging educations to students who strive for it. They have the right facilities, they have motivated teachers, but they also have a larger foreign-born and impoverished population than homogeneous districts such as Plainfield and Greenwood, which tout their excellence but apparently did not make the list. Most districts in Indianapolis have a greater challenge at churning out the phenomenal numbers of districts like Carmel or Zionsville because they must also educate students who most like do not have a great deal of support at home--thus, the Indianapolis districts will see their averages go down.

    It is a testament to the continued excellence of North Central that it can rate so highly while the district includes one of the most racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse student bodies in the state.
  • We need good reporting
    This is the IBJ's job -- to dig into the facts and background before reporting it. Perhaps CorrND should apply to the IBJ -- sounds like you have some good reporter instincts!
  • Ridiculous
    Ranking Herron, a 4 or 5 year old school with no library and no athletic facilities, at #26 in the nation is ridiculous. I have toured it and it is a nice, very small facility. Putting it above North Central, Zionsville and Carmel is absurd. Herron's leaders should speak out and say that the Newsweek ranking system has problems.
    • Herron is great, but....
      Herron High School is doing a wonderful job educating young people in downtown Indianapolis.

      However, Newsweek's ranking needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Dig into the details and you'll see that the "Challenge Index" is a simple calculation: for a given year, add up the total number of AP/IB tests taken by all students -- typically juniors and seniors, though any student that takes a test counts -- and divide by the number of graduating seniors that year.

      This calculation skews dramatically in Herron's favor because the Newsweek calculations are from 2009, the year of Herron's first graduating class of 20 students. The total school population was 333 according to Newsweek, so the senior class was very small compared to the other class years.

      It's likely that the total school population took a solid number of AP tests but that number was then divided by an unusually small number of graduating seniors, resulting in a Challenge Index that was skewed very high.

      Again, I don't want to cast aspersions about Herron High. By all accounts they're doing a great job. Just don't trust Newsweek.

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