The high school was ranked the number one public high school in the state of Ohio and 121st in the country in U.S. News and World Report rankings released Tuesday, Aug. 29.
This ranking is based on various academic categories including graduation rate, reading and mathematical proficiency, percentage of students that took an Advanced Placement exam and percentage of students who passed at least one AP exam, Principal of Secondary Schools Jason Caudill explained.
Chief Academic Officer Casey Cosgray said the multiple college-level course options and dedicated teachers were the main reasons why the high school achieved the ranking.
Caudill said the high school’s teachers cater to students’ needs and help them excel academically, which is another reason for the ranking.
Cosgray said after this news was announced, the high school staff felt a higher sense of pride, yet simultaneously an underlying pressure to maintain the ranking.
Cosgray added that throughout this school year, she wants to focus on factors that this ranking doesn’t address, such as diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness.
“This is just one metric, and it’s a very important one, but there’s so much more to education than this high academics,” she said. “We want everyone to feel a sense of belonging.”
Caudill said students sacrificing their mental health and other outside opportunities isn’t worth achieving the ranking, and student improvement is the priority amongst the new administration.
“We want to help students define what experiences they want and what goals they want to set for themselves,” Caudill said. “We don’t want you to leave here burnt out.”
Caudill said the administration will achieve these goals by working with the new administration and discussing their plan of action.
The district’s strategic plan aims to encourage students to take control of their learning, ensure cultural responsibility, make AP classes and different learning opportunities accessible, as well as increase student leadership and resources, Caudill explained.
“We want to put every kid in a position to succeed and to make choices that open future opportunities, not limit them,” he said.
While supporting students to achieve success, the high school received a lot of positive attention but some negative feedback from members outside of the community, Cosgray said.
“We’ve heard how proud people are to be a part of this fabulous school system, but there are also some online comments that aren’t so kind and talk about the wealth of resources that Bexley has,” she said.
Junior Reed Solar appreciates the ranking because he feels confident that he’s receiving a good education at the high school.
“It’s known amongst students that we have incredible teachers, and this ranking confirms the effectiveness of their teaching,” he said.
Solar said he wants to make the new administration proud to work for the high school, and this ranking helps accomplish that.
English teacher and department chairperson Michelle Rogers said she also feels proud to see students’ and the staff’s hard work being recognized.
She said this ranking confirmed what the community already knew about Bexley being a special district, and she explained that having a strong focus on state testing earlier in a student’s high school career is important to succeed in this ranking.
“The English department puts effort in English 9 and 10 to make sure students are strong writers and readers, and continue developing those skills in 11th and 12th grade,” she said.
To help students excel further, Cosgray said as the high school administrators implement their strategic plan over the course of the next couple years, there will be some changes made within the next year or so.
“We’re going to expand our course offerings for next year,” Cosgray explained. “There are new course proposals by teachers that require student input to see if it’s in favor of the students.”
She said she also hopes to improve the high school’s technology and infrastructure to remain as up-to-date as possible.
“I would assume things are going to be rapidly changing, which is why we have a strategic plan to guide us for the next three years,” Cosgray said.