Bradford Area High School Principal David Ray stands by the entrance to the school.

For the ninth year in a row, Bradford Area High School has been chosen as one of the U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools in America, and administrators couldn’t be more proud.

According to Principal David Ray, the Best High Schools rankings list identifies the top performing high schools in the United States.

“Schools on this (ranking) list a high rate of students who scored above expectations in math and reading state assessments, passed an array of college-level exams including advanced placement exams, and graduated in four years,” Ray explained. “They use data that measures how well your school is doing to get students ready for life after high school.”

Ray said the report also looks at college-readiness among the students.

“I think one of the things that keeps us in those rankings is that over the last several years we’ve really expanded our advanced placement student enrollment,” he added. “A lot more Bradford Area High School students are taking advanced placement courses. At the same time, the number of students who pass those courses continues to remain high.”

In addition to this, the report looks at math and reading proficiency and performance, and how the school ranks on the state Keystone tests, with Bradford remaining above most schools in Pennsylvania.

“They look at how well you’re serving under-served students who are economically disadvantaged,” he continued. “We’re continuing to work to get better at that, and we’re better than we were any other time prior to the pandemic.”

Also added into the criteria is the graduation rate of a school district.

“Our graduation rate as of last year remained high,” Ray remarked. “I’m curious to see how the rankings are going to be computed this coming year because nobody in Pennsylvania has Keystone results from last year and those measures were cancelled” due to the pandemic.

He noted the school district did, however, administer AP tests and provided Keystone tests this spring.

As for the prestigious ranking, Ray said he believes it “says a lot not only for our teachers, but also for the students and parents.

“So much of being online last spring (of 2020), students didn’t have the same level of support from the teacher as when in the classroom,” he commented. “So students really had to be self-motivated and get themselves online, which is difficult for a lot of students. So just to stay in the rankings says a lot about our students and parents.”

He said the end result is that someone else at the state level noticed how well the school district performed during a challenging year.

“At least we know that somebody else is looking at what we do and they’re saying that we’re continuing to do a good job,” Ray concluded. “That’s a good thing.”

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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