The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for the fifth consecutive year.
Since 1998, educational columnist Jay Mathews has ranked Washington-area public high schools using the Challenge Index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college. The Post has since expanded its research and rankings to high schools across the United States. This year, The Washington Post recognized more than 1,900 schools from across the country.
The Challenge Index is designed to recognize schools that challenge average students. Twenty-four top-performing schools including the Gatton Academy were excluded from the regular list of well performing schools because, as the newspaper states, “their admissions and standardized tests indicate they have few or no average students.” Instead, these specialized schools are named to the top performing schools with elite students list.
The Gatton Academy once again found itself among the nation’s 24 most distinguished high schools, including many with emphases in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Schools such as the Illinois Math Science Academy, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and Thomas Jefferson High School (Virginia) make perennial appearances on the top performing schools with elite students list.
Dr. Tim Gott, director of the Gatton Academy, noted how Academy students can compete academically with students from some of the top schools in United States.
“Being on The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students once again confirms that Kentucky students are on par with outstanding students from all across the U.S.,” Gott said. “Over the past few years, our students have interacted with many of the listed schools in student research conferences and other leadership programs. In these interactions, we have come to realize that our students are among the best from around the country. Kentucky can be very proud that its Academy is contributing strongly to the intellectual capacity of our nation.”
The Washington Post’s recognition drew attention to the strategic partnership between the Gatton Academy and Western Kentucky University, which facilitates all coursework for academy students. As part of the rigorous curriculum, students earn more than 60 hours of college credit during their four semesters in the program while also earning a high school diploma.
Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of the Gatton Academy, praised WKU’s longstanding commitment to the program.
“Students, faculty and staff of the Gatton Academy and Western Kentucky University are thrilled with this recognition of academic excellence,” Roberts said. “It is a testament to the capacity of Kentucky’s young people to achieve at the highest levels when the learning ceiling is removed.”
Chad Phillips, assistant director of admission and external relations, added that the Gatton Academy serves as an extension of every school district in the Commonwealth.
“The great thing about this honor is that it reflects the partnership that the Gatton Academy has with all of the high schools across the state,” Phillips said. “This recognition elevates the amazing students that come from across the Commonwealth. Every school represented at the Academy shares in this accolade.”
Since the program’s inception in 2007, students have been admitted from 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. In all, students from more than 190 public high schools across the state have enrolled in the program.