A high-quality education is important to most parents and those who have students attending Independence High School can rest assured a high-quality education is just what they will receive. A recent study showed IHS ranked No. 27 within Kansas and No. 3,786 in national rankings.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings provided data on more than 24,000 public high schools around the United States.

IHS had an overall score of 78.72 out of 100. The report stated students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement coursework and exams with the participation rate at 20%. The total minority enrollment at IHS is 22% and 55% of those enrolled are economically disadvantaged. Ranking factors for IHS are: College Readiness Index Rank, No. 34 in the state; College Curriculum Breadth Index Rank, No. 35; Math and Reading Proficiency Rank, No. 68; Math and Reading Performance Rank, No. 24; and Graduation Rate Rank, No. 93. 

IHS Principal Carmen Hewitt said, “We are very proud of the work we have done, our teachers and our students. This is three years now in a row that we have been ranked by the U.S. News and World Report, the top 25th percentile or something like that.”

The first year IHS was ranked 34th out of 205, the second year IHS was ranked 19th and this year is 27th in the state. “The next closest school in our league was 31st so we are pretty proud,” she said, adding they contribute that ranking to the many programs the high school has to help students prepare for college such as the AVID program, AP Advanced Placement classes and the number of students who take the tests and graduation rate.

“A lot of the schools that rank above us in the state are Blue Valley Northwest, Olathe and those larger schools in more affluent kinds of places,” she said. “Or even academy’s or magnet schools.”

Hewitt said this is a nationally-recognized publication. “There are almost 18,000 high schools and out of the 18,000 I think we are ranked 3,800 so even nationally we are in the top percentage.”

The U.S. News report said nearly 18,000 schools were ranked on six factor- based on their performance on the state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. The ranking data methodology included college readiness, 30%, the proportions of 12th graders who took and passed at least one AP or IB exam; math and reading proficiency, 20%, aggregated scores on state assessments that students may be required to pass for graduation; math and reading performance, 20%, how aggregated scores on state assessments compare to U.S. News’s expectations given the proportions of students who are black, Hispanic and from low-income households; underserved student performance, 10%, scores on state assessments aggregated just among students who are black, Hispanic and from low-income households with the scores compared to what is typical in the state for non-undeserved students with parity or higher being the goal; college curriculum breadth, 10%, the proportions of 12th graders who took and passed AP and IB exams in multiple areas; and graduation rate, 10%, the proportion of 9th graders who graduated four academic years later.

Ranked at No. 1 in the national rankings was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.

USD 446 Superintendent Rusty Arnold said, “They did well.”