Lenox tops in Berkshire County for SAT scores; Monument, Greylock runners up


LENOX -- Lenox Memorial High School has been rated No. 1 in the county, and 44th out of 343 schools statewide, for SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) scores by 11th graders last spring.

The results were released recently by the College Board, which administers the most widely used exams for college admission.

Lenox came in with a total score of 1665 on the three tests measuring math, writing and critical reading. In second place was Monument Mountain Regional High in Great Barrington, with a combined score of 1605, followed by Mount Greylock Regional in Williamstown, with 1595.

Among the county's 12 high schools, Pittsfield High and Taconic High came in eighth and ninth, respectively.

The results were first compiled on Boston.com, a website operated by the Boston Globe.

According to the College Board, a score of 1550 or higher indicates "college and career readiness." Out of the state's 343 high schools, 115 had totals at or above that benchmark.

In Berkshire County, apart from the top three schools, only fourth-place Wahconah Regional High in Dalton achieved the 1550 goal. Its combined total was 1565.

The statewide average total score was 1527, the College Board reported, compared to a national average of 1474.

In a related study, the Boston Globe compiled a "dreamtown finder" -- the top 25 places to live in Massachusetts. With school-system ratings factored in, Lenox came in 18th. The report described the town as "both beautiful and filled with wicked-smart kids. Average SAT scores are very high."

Yet another just-released report evaluating school systems statewide, based on state data analyzed by Babson College, ranked the Lenox system 17th among the top high schools of Massachusetts this year.

The report released by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette crunched data from 343 public, charter and technical schools statewide to provide "a sweeping and comprehensive view of the secondary school educational landscape in Massachusetts," according to the newspaper's website.

The formula developed at Babson College includes SAT and MCAS scores, per-pupil funding, student-teacher ratios and graduation rates.

"In everything you hear our Select Board talk about -- how do the schools drive our real estate values, how can we rate the schools on more than one thing -- we're No. 17, up from number 51 last year," said Principal Michael Knybel, now in his third academic year at Lenox Memorial Middle and High. "That showed we're going in the right direction, changing our curriculum, expanding math and science, giving money to technology and also keeping our strong arts programming, athletics and everything else."

"The school budget kept inching up, but it paid off," Knybel added. "One of my passions is to create a school that makes the town really strong. ... We changed the school substantially, going to an eight-period schedule, finding a way to make the budget work to help us bring in new staff, equipment and modern technology. These are all things that have been discussed at every level of town government and why we're in strategic planning."

Lenox High had a 90 percent graduation rate as of last spring, based on the freshman class that entered four years ago, he said. The college acceptance rate is about 98 percent, including four-year public and private colleges as well as two-year community colleges.

"We've invested in bringing our kids to a higher level," Knybel said.

Berkshire SAT Rankings

The following is the total combined SAT scores for math, writing and critical reading tests taken by 11th graders last spring:

1. Lenox Memorial High School: 1665

2. Monument Mountain Regional: 1606

3. Mount Greylock Regional: 1595

4. Wahconah Regional: 1565

5. Mount Everett Regional: 1503

6. Lee High School: 1478

7, Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART): 1475

8. Pittsfield High School: 1430

9. Taconic: 1426

10. McCann Tech: 1403

11. Hoosac Valley: 1380

12. Drury: 1332

Sources: State Board of Education, College Board, Boston.com


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