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, December 8 2013 11:56 PM EST2013-12-09 04:56:59 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:36 PM EST2013-12-09 03:36:50 GMT
A Burlington congregation made a short pilgrimage to it's new home Sunday. The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decidedMore >>
The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decided not to renew its lease.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:35 PM EST2013-12-09 03:35:27 GMT
The 5th annual Festival of Trees in St. Albans is helping to feed the hungry this holiday season. Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and theMore >>
Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and the rest will be given away at a raffle.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:02 PM EST2013-12-09 03:02:41 GMT
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.It happened on Front Street Sunday afternoon. The victim told police he was held up at gunpoint by two African AmericanMore >>
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:34 PM EST2013-12-09 02:34:59 GMT
"It was always a lot of fun. It was a great way to dress up and have a fancy party -- something that we usually didn't get to go to, big fancy events," said Ann Cunningham. Cunningham, a native of Burlington,More >>
How do you spread holiday cheer? For decades, one Vermont family has kept up a tradition to throw a christmas party for hundreds of families in need.More >>