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.
Friday, December 6 2013 8:02 AM EST2013-12-06 13:02:46 GMT
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November. Police say three armed men targeted the home on Summit Street the night of November 18 and took property out by force.More >>
Police are looking for a Burlington man who may be behind a robbery back in November.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 7:24 AM EST2013-12-06 12:24:22 GMT
Vermont state employees will be getting paid more. The State Employees' Association say workers will see 2.5 percent pay increased each of the next two years. The tentative deal also calls for increasedMore >>
Vermont state employees will be getting paid more.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:31 AM EST2013-12-06 11:31:48 GMT
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro. Officers were called to Valley Street Thursday to check on a 39-year-old woman. While on the scene, police say the woman grabbed a largeMore >>
A welfare check turned into a dangerous situation in Brattleboro.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:28 AM EST2013-12-06 11:28:49 GMT
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower. The College Street Congregational Church was badly damaged back in October by a fire investigators say was arson.More >>
A plea deal may be in the works for the man who police say torched a Burlington bell tower.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:22 AM EST2013-12-06 11:22:45 GMT
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. Officials say the fire broke out Thursday afternoon on Ladd Road just before 4 p.m. By the time fire crews arrived on the scene theMore >>
A Vermont family is homeless after fire destroyed their Concord home. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:14 AM EST2013-12-06 11:14:08 GMT
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm. Last month, a typhoon tore across the eastern Philippines, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands. TheMore >>
Dozens of Vermont nurses are headed to the Philippines to help victims of a deadly storm.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:09 AM EST2013-12-06 11:09:59 GMT
For years, Vermonters have described their favorite maple syrup with a letter grade or as Vermont Fancy. But beginning next year, those grading rules will change. Producers will begin labeling VermontMore >>
New regulations coming next year will change the way you shop for syrup in Vermont.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 6:03 AM EST2013-12-06 11:03:14 GMT
Prosecutors are calling for stiffer probation penalties for a Vermont publisher who swindled retirees out of their life savings. Last April Peter Campbell-Copp pleaded guilty to more than a dozen felonyMore >>
Prosecutors are calling for stiffer probation penalties for a Vermont publisher who swindled retirees out of their life savings.More >>