Friday, November 30, 2007

Congrats to CAMS

While I continue to maintain my general disdain for US News and World Report rankings, I can't help but congratulate my high school, the California Academy of Mathematics and Science for its 21st place finish, out of the country.

Think of all the high schools in America - hell, in the greater Los Angeles area - all with better resources and all the right assets to place them among the greatest . . . and then there's us. Tiny. Focused. Diverse. Look what we did. And in this, the tenth year since I graduated, it seems fitting.

We won't be having a big reunion. When we attended CAMS - the fourth class to do so, the one that completed the school - teachers were only allowed 5 years before they had to return to their home districts. There's little institutional memory left to remember us, which is a shame. I see from the article that CAMS has a new principal. Perhaps our brilliant counselor, Barry Baker is still there, but I don't know.

I hate US News metrics for colleges. I'm sure, in may ways, their high school metrics are just as deficient. But CAMS is getting its due. I am happy.

This is how they judged:

They developed the methodology to analyze how well high schools serve their students. They factored in poverty and economic status, including disadvantaged students, average students, and college-bound students to make those measurements.

According to the methodology, a best high school is one that succeeds at the following:

Attains performance levels that exceed statistical expectations given the school's relative level of student poverty, as measured by state accountability test scores for all the school's students in the core subjects of reading and math.

Achieves proficiency rates on state tests for their least advantaged student groups - black, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students - that exceed state averages.

Prepares its students for college, as measured by student participation in and performance on Advanced Placement tests, which are administered by the College Board.

Using this methodology, more than 18,500 high schools in 40 states were analyzed for inclusion.
And to answer the question that 99.9% of the time followed up the question "where do/did you go to high school," "Is that a smart school?"

Yes. It is.

(For alumni.)

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