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.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:39:09 GMT
"Awesome -- I lost it when I finished I have to say, but it was great. It was great," said Amy Sullivan. The 2013 Boston Marathon runner was all smiles as she and 450 other runners crossed the finishMore >>
A race in southern Vermont Sunday gave runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon a second chance at the finish line.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:38:13 GMT
They come from all over the state and wait in line for hours. "It's become sort of a yearly event for us. We've been doing it for eight or nine years now -- we're having a blast," said Ed Sayers ofMore >>
Dozens of drivers gathered in Chelsea for a record setting road rally -- full of riddles that keep drivers and passengers on their toes.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:36:52 GMT
College graduation season is in full swing -- and Sunday in Burlington it was a big one. A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.In all, more thanMore >>
A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:28:28 GMT
Fire destroyed a barn in Clinton County, New York Sunday morning.It happened in the town of Mooers. Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30More >>
Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30 a.m.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:27:13 GMT
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.It happened on a stretch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River in the town of Dummer. Officials say Keith Whitten, 58, was paddling with his wifeMore >>
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:26:39 GMT
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.Last week the Middlebury company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against South Burlington-based Woodchuck Coffee RoastersMore >>
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:17:27 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>