By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Cullman High School has been named one of the Top 20 schools in Alabama by Newsweek, marking the first time the city system has been represented on the list.
Newsweek magazine releases annual rankings of the Top 2,000 schools in the nation, and Cullman High ranked No. 19 in the State of Alabama, and 1,886 in the country.
The ranking factored in test scores, graduation rates, the free and reduced lunch level and average Advanced Placement scores. Cullman High recorded a 91 percent graduation rate, with 71 percent of students college-bound. Students also had an average ACT score of 22.3, and average Advanced Placement class GPA of 3.1 (out of 4). The high school has approximately 25 percent of its students on free and reduced lunches.
Superintendent Dr. Jan Harris said the award was a credit to the work of principal Dr. Elton Bouldin and the staff at the school.
“We are thrilled to be listed as one of America’s best high schools, as well as one of Alabama’s best. Dr. Bouldin has worked with the faculty to improve the gifted offerings through AP classes, ad that’s one of several indicators Newsweek uses to determine this list,” Harris said. “So, I believe together they have increased the number of students and improved the offerings of students in Advanced Placement. That was an area where we’d been deficient, and now that’s an area we’re improving upon.”
Harris noted some A+ College Ready state grant funds also helped fund some training and costs for expanding the AP offerings.
Cullman High Principal Dr. Elton Bouldin said the fact that the school could score so well within the rigorous grading scale is a testament to the hard work of teachers and students.
“What I appreciate is that there are a lot of different ways of evaluating high schools, and Newsweek’s rankings are based on students being ready for college,” he said. “I think it’s quite a tribute, and we try to have our curriculum meet the needs of college and career-readiness. To have this confirmation from an independent source is a great affirmation for the job being done. It’s a compliment to the entire system that our students are among the most prepared.”
The top Alabama school, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School - Shades Valley, in Irondale, ranked 15th in the nation. Mountain Brook High was the No. 2 school in Alabama.
Newsweek’s Top 20 Alabama School Systems:
No. 1: Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School - Shades Valley, Irondale.
No. 2: Mountain Brook High, Mountain Brook.
No. 3: Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, Mobile.
No. 4: Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery.
No. 5: Vestavia Hills High School, Vestavia Hills.
No. 6: Oak Mountain High School, Birmingham.
No. 7: Spain Park High School, Hoover.
No. 8: Huntsville High School, Huntsville.
No. 9: New Century Technology High School, Huntsville.
No. 10: Auburn High School, Auburn.
No. 11: Virgil I. Grissom High School, Huntsville.
No. 12: Homewood High School, Homewood.
No. 13: Bob Jones High School, Madison.
No. 14: Brewbaker Technology Magnet School: Montgomery.
No. 15: Athens High School, Athens.
No. 16: Hartselle High School, Hartselle.
No. 17: Ramsay High School, Birmingham.
No. 18: Florence High School, Birmingham.
No. 19: Cullman High School, Cullman.
No. 20: Hewitt Trussville High School, Trussville.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.