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LAHS earns third silver medal

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By Kirsten Laskey

Los Alamos High School strives for excellence and its efforts are paying off. U.S.  News and World Report, in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, recently awarded the high school a silver medal in the Best High Schools 2009 Search.

Not only did LAHS earn this recognition while being cast in a sea of more than 21,000 public high schools across the country, but it also has the distinction of being only one of two schools in New Mexico that earned the silver medal ranking.

The other high school was La Cueva High School. No school in New Mexico won gold.

To distribute these awards, U.S. News and World Report and School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education and data research and analysis business, analyzed academic and enrollment data.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said analyists were particularly interested in the number of Advance Placement (AP) courses a school offers and how successful high school graduates are in college.

The silver medal LAHS recently received will expand on its collection of medal rankings – it’s the third silver medal ranking the high school has been awarded from the Best High Schools Search in three years.    

“It’s a great credit to the quality of staff and the commitment of our community for a high quality education,” Schmidt said.

He said the school district learned about the award Dec. 16 and will honor the LAHS staff during the Jan. 12 board meeting.

Schmidt credits one particular staff  member, high school principal Grace Brown, who  retired last month.

He said there’s a lot to be said in the fact that Brown was  at the high school for three years and the school has received the silver award three times.

“This is a very exciting thing – (its) certainly consistent with Los Alamos’ high quality education … it means we are maintaining the rigor of quality education success,” he said.

This success points to what is going on in the classroom. It proves there is great instruction and great leadership at LAHS, Schmidt said.

The goal now is to reach higher and add a gold medal ranking to the collection.

It’s not just from the Best High Schools 2009 Search that LAHS gets confirmation about the quality of its education. Schmidt said the Albuquerque Journal recently did a study comparing high school graduation rates with test scores, and LAHS was discovered to have high marks in both categories. Additionally, Schmidt said high performance can be seen in the elementary schools and middle school. “As a readership, Los Alamos (can) continue to be optimistic that the future of their children is very bright,” Schmidt said.