Inital reactions have been positive but also constructive. "I want it to be better," Head of the math department Michelle Macke says, "It's good, but we're an 11, so there are ten schools ahead of us."
U.S. News looks at a school’s overall performance on state tests, college-level coursework and state assessment data. College preparation is one of the main factors in determining a high school’s ranking on the list. In this category Pioneer earned a 45.4 out of 100, meaning 50% of students took AP level tests and 44% passed them according to usnews.com.
Already, Pioneer has a lot of strengths that help them on the ranking scale. "We encourage a lot of students to take college-level classes, so if you challenge yourself you tend to do better," Macke says.
Some of the aspects Pioneer was ranked on include literacy, math scores and teacher to student ratio. While math scores at the school are already high, there is room to improve and move up even further on the list. “I don’t think students realize that when they take the MEAP, if [they] get one point more than they got the previous year, [their] score goes up 5 points,” Macke says. “If we just had people try to take the test more seriously and just get one more [point] right, then [our scores] would be better.”
Another area that Pioneer could improve on for next year is the vigor of study sessions throughout the school. “We have so many outlets for help here, but I don’t know how much of an impact that’s having on individual students because they’re getting distracted,” Hoevet says. “How do you get a kid motivated when they’re in [math lab] with their friend and they’re texting? We just need to get kids isolated to get them focused because clearly having a class of 40 kids isn’t helping them to be successful.”
To students, getting a high score on the newspaper’s ranking is a reward and recognition for their hard work throughout their time at Pioneer. “It’s good to know that doing well at Pioneer means something,” Hoevet says.
It also provides a feeling of pride for the school as a whole and the parents who send their children there. “[The high score] helps with self-esteem of the school,” Pioneer Counslor and Positive Peer Influence leader Colleen Creal says. “It helps parents feel like they’re sending their kids to a high quality school with a high quality education.”
Finally, the score might even help students from Pioneer have a better chance of being admitted into colleges. “If you have 5 schools in the area and we’re ranked in the top 15 that makes us more marketable and more appealing,” Creal says.
Pioneer students should feel proud of the dedication to education that has earned the school great recognition by the popular news source, U.S. News and hopefully keep up their incredible drive to improve even more.