University School, Science Hill, D-B, South make U.S. News list

Rick Wagner • Apr 25, 2020 at 3:45 PM

KINGSPORT — University School, Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Sullivan South are among U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools for 2020 in the United States.

The new Best High Schools rankings, which are available online at usnews.com/education/, are produced in conjunction with North Carolina-based research firm RTI International, a global nonprofit social science research firm.

University School, which has 298 grades 9-12 students on its campus at East Tennessee State University, which operates the school, ranked eighth in Tennessee and 463rd nationwide, with a 64% Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate. The school is the only one in Northeast Tennessee ranked in the state’s top 10, and it is also the highest ranked school east of Murfreesboro.

“University School has a legacy of academic excellence, and we are honored to once again be listed among the state’s best high schools in these rankings,” said Brian Partin, director of University School. “Several factors were evaluated in determining these rankings, and all of these measurements indicate that University School is a champion for student success and college preparation.”

In 1996, University School because the first K-12 laboratory school in the nation to adopt a year-round calendar.

Science Hill, which has 2,227 students on its Johnson City campus, ranked 17th in the state and 1,334th in the nation. It had a 34% AP participation rate.

Dobyns-Bennett, which has 2,243 students on its Kingsport campus, ranked 21st in the state and 1,504th in the nation with an AP participation rate of 44%. 

“I am proud for our community that we are blessed to have one of the top high schools in the state and nation,” Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse said. “This has not happened by accident. This is the result of much hard work by the students, educators, and administration of Dobyns-Bennett. This is also the result of the investment our community has made into our school system. This is an example of how great things can happen when everyone is committed to the common goal of helping our young people reach their full potential.”

Sullivan South, which has 850 students on the outskirts of Kingsport, ranked 67th in the state and 5,364th nationwide. It had a 21% AP participation rate.

U.S. News has published detailed information on more than 24,000 public high schools, including school-specific data on enrollment, student ethnicity, location, school type and results of state assessments, as well as AP and International Baccalaureate tests.

Using some of this data and a comprehensive methodology, schools were given a College Readiness Index score, with the top-scoring 7,200-plus schools receiving a gold, silver or bronze medal, and in the case of gold and silver schools, a national numerical ranking.

Results of AP assessments factor into this national ranking. Approximately 856 Advanced Placement tests were administered to 441 D-B students in 2019. The number of seniors graduating from D-B in 2019 was 526.

Eighty-one percent of D-B students who completed an AP test scored at least a 3 or above. An AP exam score ranging from 3 to 5 generally qualifies students for college credit in the subject area.

“This recognition represents a culture of high expectations for all students by a staff that goes above and beyond at every turn for every endeavor,” D-B Principal Chris Hampton said. “We strive to stretch, prepare, encourage and support kids while building quality, kind and respectful relationships along the way. These experiences are very intentional and designed to build skills and future success for all students.”

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