Jenn Smith | Recess: How do Berkshire schools stack up? US News & World Report weighs in

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During these dark times, Berkshire County schools are looking to celebrate the bright spots.

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School in Adams is celebrating its ranking in the top 20 list of Best High Schools in Massachusetts tallied by U.S. News & World Report.

"A great high school educates all students from different social and economic backgrounds, exposing them to challenging coursework on the path to graduation," the magazine's reporters write in regards to how these ratings are calculated in partnership with the research firm RTI International.

A post on the school's Facebook page reads: "BART's soaring high at #16 on the western Mass frontier because of terrific faculty and staff working closely with students and their supportive families!"

Thirty percent of a school's scored is based on a college readiness index indicator, factored by the proportion of a schools 12th graders who took and passed Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate exams. The ranking process also considers the breadth of college-level curriculum offered; math and reading proficiency and performance on state standardized exams; how well black, Hispanic and low-income students scored on state exams compared with nonunderserved students; and graduation rates.

BART, which had 151 high school students enrolled at the time of scoring, was lauded for an AP participation rate of 90 percent and having a 97 percent graduation rate. The school has a college readiness score of 61.3 out of 100, and BART's total minority enrollment was 29 percent.

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The rest of Berkshire County public high schools were ranked as follows out of 345 high schools rated in the report: Lenox (32), Mt. Greylock (61), Mt. Everett (89), Hoosac Valley (136), Lee (155), Pittsfield (161), Monument Mountain (182), Wahconah (183), Taconic (224), Drury (257) and McCann (276).

While the Charles H. McCann Technical School celebrates a 98 percent graduation rate, the vocational school which readies students for trades and careers and other types of training, received a college readiness score of 4.9 and a 17 percent AP participation rate. The school has a minority enrollment population of 6 percent.

Southern Berkshire Regional School District is celebrating a NAMM Foundation distinction of being one of 754 "Best Communities for Music Education" districts in the nation. The district's Mt. Everett Regional School has previously earned this distinction, and writes in a Facebook post, "Congratulations Ms. English, Mr. Clark, Ms. Petty and to all our of our talented student musicians."

Mount Everett, like other Berkshire County high schools, is also keying in on celebrating another distinctive group among districts: its seniors.

From virtual shoutouts to making an effort to still publish a 2019-2020 yearbook, schools are currently soliciting videos, photos and other testimonials to make sure the Class of 2020 can cap off the year on a high note.

Whether you're a parent, teacher, student or community member, let's talk about education: jsmith@berkshireeagle.com, @JennSmith_Ink on Twitter or 413-629-4517.


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