Bradshaw Mountain High earns national recognition
Principal says the school making incredible strides
There are about 305 public, private or charter schools in the state of Arizona and out of all of them, Bradshaw Mountain High School was ranked 85th in the state based on the average SAT scores of its students last year, according to Principal Kort Miner. That’s not all though. Recently, the school was recognized by US News and World Report as one of the nation’s best schools for the second year in a row, receiving a bronze medal in the magazine’s 2016 rankings.
“This was a third party that took a look at what’s going on here and recognized that we’re doing some good stuff,” Miner said. “That to me is a lot to be proud of.”
Bradshaw Mountain High School was also recognized by Newsweek, which placed it at 326 in its list of Top 500 Schools for Low-Income Students. Having been at the school for eight years, Miner said it had never been honored up until the last two years, stating that he thinks the school is making incredible strides.
US News and World Report bases their calculations around four steps, according to the magazine’s website, www.usnews.com. The first step is if whether or not students perform better than expected in their state and the second is if disadvantaged students perform better than state average. The third step takes a look at if student graduation rates meet or exceed the national standard.
“We excluded schools from consideration if their graduation rates were lower than 68 percent – a threshold based on a federal law that requires states to give extra resources to schools below that standard,” the website states.
The final step is if students are prepared for college level coursework. US News and World Report found that Bradshaw Mountain High School ranked 17.9 on the College Readiness Index, that 25 percent of the school is AP tested with 62 percent passing and that 74 percent of the students are proficient in mathematics and 90 percent of the students are proficient in English.
The methods used for Newsweek’s list includes identifying high schools with the highest performance measured by academic achievement on state assessments in reading and mathematics as well as assessing students’ preparedness for college, according to www.newsweek.com. Newsweek found the school’s college readiness percentage is 69.6 percent with a 94.1 percent graduation rate and that 90.3 percent of graduates are college bound. Students with dual enrollment participation are at 32 percent as well, the website states.
Miner said he’s seen the changes that have garnered these recognitions himself. For his first graduation, 30 to 40 percent of the students going into the military and 30 to 40 percent going to college. Last year, 12 percent went into the military and 82 percent went off to college, he said. Further, last year, $7 million were awarded in scholarships and last year $5 million were awarded with $7 million being awarded the year before that, making more than $20 million in scholarships over the last three years, Miner said.
“We’re giving our kids access,” he said. “To me, that’s everything.”
Miner also spoke of how Bradshaw Mountain High School has the biggest rural college fair in Arizona.
Last year, there were 75 colleges and universities there as well as armed forces, he said, noting that when he got to the school, there were 20 schools involved in the fair.
There’s also the AP Academy the school started three years ago, Miner said. The first 49 students in the academy are all juniors now and will graduate with AP Honors from the College Board, recognized for the number of AP courses they’ve taken and passed, he said. That group coming through can only improve the number of students passing their AP tests, Miner said.
“That’s going to impact that bronze. I feel that’ll be the tipping point probably into silver,” he said, stating the future is bright because of that opportunity. “I’ve got 150 kids in the academy. The kids are busting their butt and staying in it.
“A majority of the kids in the academy are in nursing, they’re in baseball, they’re in band, they’re in choir and to me that’s a well-rounded kid.”
Last year, a report from Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Yavapai College and Maricopa County found that 82 percent of Bradshaw Mountain High School seniors who went to college finished their freshman year, Miner said, stating the state average is 50 percent. Students from Bradshaw Mountain High School are graduating, going off to college and being successful, he said.
Miner referenced a report that came out of the governor’s first initiative council which found that Arizona has the lowest number of college graduates, which is why there’s a big push right now for college education, he said. Bradshaw Mountain High School is already there, Miner said.
“What’s really cool is we’re seeing a lot of our kids walking out of here due to AP courses, taking AP tests and getting college credit or doing the dual enrollment on our campus, they’re walking out here going to college for three years,” he said. “You line up all those things, the accessibility for the kids and opportunities that are here at Bradshaw Mountain High School through the AP Academy and beyond, that’s recognition.”