Lenox high school earns gold in U.S. News & World Report rankings

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LENOX — In its widely read annual assessment of the nation's best high schools, U.S. News & World Report has placed Lenox Memorial Middle and High School as No. 1 in Berkshire County, 17th in Massachusetts out of 353 statewide and 422nd out of 28,561 schools nationally.

Announcing the gold-level citation at a recent School Committee meeting, Superintendent Timothy Lee said the rankings are based primarily on student outcomes such as college readiness measured by Advanced Placement participation, MCAS test performance in English and math, and graduation rates.

Among the top 75 Massachusetts schools eligible for gold or silver medals, the only other Berkshire County school making the list was Mount Greylock Regional High at No. 35, according to usnews.com, where the complete scores can be found for all the county's and state's high schools.

In the previous U.S. News scorecard two years ago, Lenox was listed as 33rd in the state and 651st in the nation, coming in at the magazine's silver level. This year, the school has risen to the gold level.

Separately, the Washington Post's listing of the nation's most challenging high schools placed Lenox as 51st in the state and 1,281st in the nation, up by 240 slots since last year, based on the school's 100 percent graduation rate and performance on the SAT standardized college-prep tests, with a combined average score of 1630.

Meanwhile, projected enrollment in the Lenox district for pre-K through Grade 12 is 765 for the 2016-17 school year, Lee reported. That's a notable increase from the current 731, he pointed out.

"It's a nice trend, a pretty healthy increase for us next year," he said.

About 38 percent of the enrolled students are school choice, compared to the School Committee's target of no more than 40 percent nonresident enrollment districtwide, and no more than 50 percent for any grade.

As approved by committee members at a previous meeting, administrators are planning three kindergarten sections of 14 students each, Lee said. The total of 42 leaves some room for last-minute resident enrollment that normally occurs before the start of the school year during the summer.

The current makeup of the kindergarten class includes 23 residents, 12 choice students who are siblings of current students and seven other nonsibling choice students out of 24 applications. The district also has enrolled 15 pre-kindergarten students.

Contact Clarence Fanto at cfanto@yahoo.com.


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