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2018 U.S. News and World Report releases list of best high schools in the state and nation

TIDINGS FILE PHOTO - West Linn and Wilsonville high schools are among some of the states top performing schools, according to the 2018 U.S. News and World Report.The results are in, and West Linn and Wilsonville high schools are ranked within the top 10 for best high schools in Oregon. West Linn High School placed fifth in state, while WHS followed close behind in seventh place, according to the 2018 U.S. News and World Report's best high school rankings released today.

"It affirms a lot of good work our teachers and counselors do with serving the needs of a lot of our kids — teaching them expectations and engagement in the classrooms," said Dennis Burke, WHS assistant principal and athletic director. "I never know what to make of rankings but it's a nice compliment and we appreciate the acknowledgement."

The report, which evaluates statewide and nationwide rankings among public high schools, including charter and special focus schools, evaluated more than 20,500 high schools across the nation. The report examined students' preparedness for college-level coursework, graduation rates, students' performance on state assessments and schools that best served all populations of students.

Although last year WLHS ranked second and WHS ranked fourth in state, both schools have nothing to frown about.

"Any time you get recognized for the work your students, staff and community is putting into the schools is something to be proud of," said WLHS Principal Kevin Mills. "It's always a good feeling."

In Oregon, 34 schools made the ranking for best high schools across the nation, and WLHS was one of five Oregon schools awarded gold medals for Top 500 schools based on college readiness, while WHS was one of 20 Oregon schools awarded silver medals for high-performing schools based on a slightly lower-level of college readiness.

While Burke takes pride in the success of WHS, he said there's always more work that can be done to improve the success of students and the school.

"At the end of each school year we look at students who are not quite reaching; we look at attendance reports," Burke said. "We just kind of reflect, monitor and see: Are we missing any (students) we can do better with?"

Overall, Oregon ranked the 35th state for top performing high schools, and on a national scale, WLHS ranked 490 and WHS ranked 755 out of thousands of schools.

Mills said that when schools have a lot of support and people are focused on high expectations, there's an ability to hire great teachers that provide opportunities students are passionate about. This, he said, helps schools achieve high levels of success. "It's a culmination of everything we're able to provide."

Reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281.

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