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Two schools make 'top' list

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By The Staff

By JUDY UNDERWOOD

Morgan County News Editor

Morgan County Director of Schools Mike Davis said it was a wonderful surprise to find out two Morgan County Schools made the U.S. News and World Report’s “top schools” list in the nation.

More than 18,000 schools in 40 states were assessed by the publication and School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research firm. In East Tennessee nine schools received the bronze award. In Tennessee only one school achieved a gold award status.

“U.S. News set some clear criteria for academic quality in its new ranking of American high schools. To make the cut, schools have to provide a good education across their entire student body, not just for some students. And they must be preparing students for postsecondary opportunities,” Andrew J. Rotherman posted on the news magazine’s Web site.

In Morgan County both Sunbright and Oakdale high schools achieved bronze recognition.

“Even though we have a high free and reduced lunch rate, we still managed to meet the state mandates, the No Child Left Behind and meet our adequate yearly progress. We’re really proud of those two schools,” Davis said.

“I think this is the first time that Morgan County Schools have ever had any type of national recognition for our accomplishments.”

Davis credits all the schools in Morgan County with doing a good job but also said he is especially proud of the hard work students and staff are putting forth at the two schools recognized.

"I do feel like they earned it. They work hard,” Davis said.

Oakdale shows a disadvantaged student enrollment of 57.8 percent while that data is 72.2 percent at Sunbright. That criteria helped rank the two schools.

Rankings were based on how students perform on state tests, how well disadvantaged students did on tests and how well the schools provide college-level course work.

“The area were we fell a little short was on the AP (advanced placement) courses. Who knows how high we would have ranked if we met that criteria as well,” Davis commented.