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.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>