released its 2013 list of the nation’s best high schools Tuesday and Mahtomedi graduates who attend St. Thomas were pleased to see their alma mater ranked first among Minnesota schools." />
U.S. News released its 2013 list of the nation’s best high schools Tuesday and Mahtomedi graduates who attend St. Thomas were pleased to see their alma mater ranked first among Minnesota schools.
The top five Minnesota high schools according to U.S. News rankings are Mahtomedi, Edina, St. Anthony Village, TrekNorth and Wayzata.
According to the 2012-2013 Tommie Almanac, Mahtomedi tied for seventh in the university’s First Time, First Year Top Ten Feeder High Schools list with 18 former Zephyrs now attending St. Thomas in their freshman year. Edina ranked fourth with 24 students.
Sophomore Hallie Tansom, who graduated from Mahtomedi, said she was proud of her high school’s top ranking.
“I’m not too surprised,” Tansom said. “I was really pleased with my experience. I’m surprised it’s not a higher ranking nationally because I just feel like Minnesota has some pretty good high schools all around.”
Some factors used in the U.S. News ratings were student-to-teacher ratio, college readiness, math proficiency and reading proficiency. Mahtomedi has a 20:1 student-to-teacher ratio (more than the Minnesota average of 14:1), a score of 58.5 out of 100 in college readiness, which was taken from the percentages of high school seniors who were tested and passed AP exams. According to the rankings, 91 percent of Mahtomedi students are proficient in reading and 77 percent are proficient in math.
Kris Roach, director of admissions and financial aid, said St. Thomas has some of the best students from Minnesota and the upper Midwest.
“Having well prepared students enroll at St. Thomas means we have bright and engaged students here and once they graduate they go out into the world and work force and represent us well,” Roach said.
Freshman Mike Harris, who attended Mahtomedi, said the smaller class sizes at Mahtomedi play a role in students’ success.
“You’re getting about 20 students per every teacher so you feel like you get a lot of individual time, and not to mention how nice everyone is there, everyone’s always looking to help,” Harris said.
Tansom said the Mahtomedi community is what sets the No. 1-ranked high school apart from other schools.
“Everyone knows each other. Whether you’re in the classroom or in a local business, you recognize faces, and it plays a major role in your commitment to linking Mahtomedi as a whole whether it’s in school or outside of school,” Tansom said.
Harris credits the teachers for knowing how to connect well with their students.
“You can list off at least three or four teachers in each department that could win teacher of the year every year,” Harris said.
Tansom said because Mahtomedi is a “medium-sized” school, one thing it could improve on is helping students prepare for changes if they choose to attend a bigger or smaller sized college.
Junior Leslie Terwilliger, an Edina High School graduate, said she’s happy for Mahtomedi’s success.
“Congrats to them being on top of the list. I’m sure it’s a great school to go to,” Terwilliger said.
Sophomore Danny Glass, also who graduated from Edina High School, said he praises his school for its second place ranking and for preparing its students for college.
“Edina is a great school. It helped me out a lot in terms of being ready for college,” Glass said. “It really prepares their students to take the next step and make the transition into college a little smoother.”
Sophomore Bekah Dake, a Delano High School alumnus, said she thinks the rankings do a great job at showing how public education is as important as private.
“I think it shows that public school education is also as valuable as private school education, depending on what you want to get out of it for your GED,” Dake said. “It shows that public education is just as strong as private education.”