2 Tucson schools are among top 10 in the nation — again

Tucson's Basis North, University High again among top US high schools

2014-04-23T00:00:00Z 2014-04-23T00:07:00Z Tucson's Basis North, University High again among top US high schoolsBy Alexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Two Tucson schools have once again cracked the top 10 list of the best high schools in the country.

BASIS Tucson North and University High School were ranked No. 5 and No. 7, respectively, by U.S. News & World Report.

Add to that a No. 2 ranking for BASIS Scottsdale, and Arizona schools make up nearly a third of the top 10 schools in the country — a feat not accomplished by any other state.

“A good high school education is critical to prepare our future workforce,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. “The 2014 Best High Schools rankings are designed to help families understand the increasing public school options available to them.”

BASIS Tucson North Head of School Julia Toews was thrilled with the ranking, calling it the result of a lot of hard work.

“I’m extremely proud every day of what our students, parents and teachers do, and this recognition is confirmation of that,” Toews said. “I’m especially proud that two of the schools in the top 10 come from Tucson. It’s remarkable — Tucson is now becoming a powerhouse for secondary education.”

While Toews is often asked what the key is to the charter school’s success, she said there is no easy answer:

“It’s a matter of paying attention to every single part of your school. It’s holding students and teachers accountable and showing in everything you do that you believe that any student can achieve at high levels.”

In addition to being named No. 5 in the country and No. 2 in the state, BASIS Tucson North, 5740 E. River Road, was identified as the third- best science, technology, engineering and math school in the U.S. — the only Arizona campus to land in the top 10 list of STEM schools.

BASIS and the Tucson Unified School District’s University High have consistently earned top marks on the U.S. News & World Report list, which evaluated more than 31,000 schools for the 2014 Best High Schools rankings.

On top of its national ranking, University High, 421 N. Arcadia Ave., was identified as the third-best high school in Arizona and was ranked No. 84 for STEM.

UHS Principal Dean Packard was pleased to see his school receive the recognition he said it deserves.

“We have an amazing group of students who work incredibly hard on a daily basis to work through very challenging coursework,” Packard said. “Our teachers are dedicated professionals who look at data to improve what they do for students, and we have a great community that helps support the school in ways that help students be successful in the classroom.

“Getting ranked in U.S. News is exciting because it helps to validate all of the effort that goes into this by everyone involved.”

The 2014 edition of Best High Schools includes school-specific data on location, enrollment, ethnicity, school type and results of state assessment proficiency tests and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests. Using some of these data and a comprehensive methodology, U.S. News gave each eligible school a College Readiness Index score, and then numerically ranked them and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

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