Financial literacy is on the agenda inside Justin Norris' Essex High School Math class.
"I think we have a rigorous and varied curriculum that allows students to pursue a wide variety of interests," Norris said.
The teacher said the curriculum is just part of the reason the school is standing out. This fall it's joining a number of Vermont Schools on the U.S. News and World Report list of best public high schools in the country. In the Green Mountain State, Stowe comes in at number one, Essex is second, South Burlington takes the third spot and Mount Mansfield and Colchester High Schools round out the top five.
"Not to be cliche-ish but what our students need now when they leave high school in terms of skills is perhaps different from what I needed and people in between needed when they left high school," said Essex High School Principal Rob Reardon.
A number of factors go into the annual ranking including math and reading proficiency, student teacher ratios and college readiness, but Reardon said he's focusing on more than just standardized testing. "It certainly has a place, but I don't think it should be overly emphasized more so than other metrics that you would measure," he said.
At Colchester High School, educators said part of their strategy for success involves an increased focus on the 3-Rs -- relationships, rigor and relevance. "We always say to each other, you can't teach kids that you don't know. That mission and that philosophy and belief permeates throughout the whole entire community," said Jean Shea, Colchester's Director of Support Services.
Woodstock, Lake Region, Rutland, Middlebury, and Mill River fill spots six to ten in Vermont. It's a diverse mix that may have a key trait in common. "I think we are really lucky to be in a really great community. We have incredible kids and incredible parents and incredible faculty who all work together toward the same goal," Shea said.
Most admit the ranking is not a perfect science, but it's not stopping them from shooting toward the top. "First should be the goal for everybody to provide the best education for your students in your town," Justin Norris said.
The message in Essex and Colchester is -- watch out Stowe.
We wanted to include number one ranking Stowe High School in our report. Unfortunately the principal there was concerned our interacting with teachers and students would interfere with their daily routine.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:57:36 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>