STAFF EDITORIAL: What has Antioch Lacked Over the 100 Years?

National rankings should push ACHS to focus on future endeavors to promote academic rigor and success.


Tom Tom Staff

On this very page is a question that isn’t typically asked: what has Antioch Community High School lacked over the past 100 years? Considering nobody in the community is 100 years or older to answer this question with knowledge, the answer was quite difficult to find. However, given recent national rankings, the answer seemed to grow more evident each day; Antioch lacks national recognition.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast recently released their annual lists of “The Nation’s Top Schools,” and, unfortunately, ACHS fell short of making the list. The list included local schools, such as Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Barrington High School and Lake Forest High School, which ranked exceptionally well as No. 12 in the nation on Newsweek’s list.

Both of the lists are chosen based upon graduation rates, test scores, college readiness and percent of college bound students, as well as other factors such as poverty/reduced lunch rates, enrollment in Advanced Placement exams and college level courses. Newsweek releases this list annually and bases its choices off of three criteria: student performance, school rankings and economic disadvantages. According to Newsweek, this year’s list was more strict and precise than ever before.

The Daily Beast is a new online-only publication that focuses on a different type of methodology to identify the “top high schools in America.” According to The Daily Beast’s website, the publication “reached out to the nation’s best high schools to find out which were turning out the top students. To come up with our initial pool, we consulted 2012/2013 data from the Department of Education and contacted public schools with above-average graduation rates of at least 85 percent. Around 1,200 public schools completed our survey, then we crunched the numbers further, comparing schools by graduation and college acceptance rates, as well as their academic rigor using AP, IB and AICE classes and test scores, and finally, student performance on college admission exams, another indicator of a school’s preparation.”

Of course, it is a goal of ACHS to strive to achieve these national standards, and the administration as well as the students are working hard to meet the bar. We also strive to compete academically at the same level and standard as our sister school.

It is constantly stressed how important ACT and SAT scores are, and they play a huge part in the choosing of the top schools. The No. 1 school on The Daily Beast’s list, Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, has an average ACT score of 31.7 and an average SAT score of 2040. ACHS’s current average ACT score is 22.3. Not to be discouraged though, because there are schools on The Daily Beast’s list with average ACT scores of about the same. ACHS is seeing major improvement when it comes to ACT scores in recent years, and continues to try to prepare students to the best of their ability. When it comes to graduating and college bound students, ACHS is headed down the right track, with a graduation rate of 94 percent and 87.4 percent of those graduates planning to attend college.

Overall, ACHS, although lacking on national lists, is progressing in the right direction and believe, if both students and administration take the steps toward improvement by continuing to set high standards, ACHS could make it to the lists in the near future. This should be a call to strive to be a nationally acclaimed school, as well as to improve the education of our community and brighten the futures of all ACHS students.