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A-plus: Magazine says nation’s three best high schools are in Arizona

(AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
LISTEN: Peter Bezanson, Chief Executive Officer at BASIS.ed

PHOENIX — Arizona is home to the three best public high schools in the United States, a magazine announced Tuesday.

In its annual rankings of schools, U.S. News and World Report said three of the BASIS schools — Scottsdale, Tucson North and Oro Valley — were the best America has to offer.

“Arizona couldn’t be prouder of the teachers, students, and communities who made this happen,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office wrote in a press release.

Three other Arizona schools were among the top 15 schools. BASIS Peoria came in at No. 5, BASIS Chandler was ranked No. 7 and University High School in Tucson came in at No. 15.

“Without a doubt, these rankings bring attention to the educational excellence happening in Arizona,” Ducey’s office wrote.

Though the accolades were flowing from the state capitol, Scottsdale BASIS head Kristen Jordison said placing high on an online list isn’t the school’s main focus.

“To be honored with number one is a nice accolade but it’s not the overall goal of our education program,” she said.

Jordinson said the school is focused on preparing its kids for college. To that end, BASIS employs teachers who are experts in their field.

“[The teachers] are biologists; they’re physicists; they’re chemists,” she said.

BASIS Scottsdale’s profile sheet said students must complete at least eight advanced placement courses and pass six advanced placement examinations to graduate. Students also have more than 70 clubs and other extracurricular activities to choose from.

BASIS schools are no stranger to U.S. News and World Report’s list. Last year, the Scottsdale school was second in the national rankings, while Tucson North finished third.

The publication used four metrics to compile its rankings. It compared how much students outperform expectations, how much disadvantaged students outperform state averages, graduation rates against the national average and college preparedness.

KTAR’s Kathy Cline contributed to this report.

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