U.S. News & World Report magazine released its annual list of high school rankings last week, which sorts them by national ranking and state ranking.

The U.S. News rankings include data on nearly 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to traditional high schools, the rankings encompass charter; magnet; and science, technology, engineering and math-focused schools.

The Best High Schools rankings include data on a variety of factors, such as enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessments.

In Kentucky, DuPont Manual High School topped the list with an accumulated score of 99.73. It had a graduation rate of 97%, and 93% of its student body took part in advanced placement courses.

Murray High School ranked eighth on the list of 226 schools in the state and ranked highest among schools in western Kentucky with a score of 95.72. Murray has a graduation rate of 96% and has 61% of its student body taking AP courses.

Principal Tony Jarvis said Murray High School’s history of academic achievement helps bolster its standing in the rankings.

“We have a longstanding academic history of high achieving students such as National Merit Finalists — 41 total — and composite ACT (22.2), which is well above the state average, in the last five years,” he said.

“We have a veteran staff with just over 25% being alumni of Murray High School, which speaks to the culture of academic expectation with an average of 13 years of experience. We have extremely low teacher turnover.”

Jarvis added that the school offers 17 AP courses with 56% of the seniors enrolled in at least one. Many are taking more than four AP courses in both their junior and senior years.

He said that Murray High students historically score well above the state average on state math and reading assessment.

McCracken County, at 34th in the state, ranks second among western Kentucky schools with a score of 84.41. It has a graduation rate of 95% and 42% of its students take AP courses.

Other schools in western Kentucky that were ranked in the report — with their state rank, score, graduation rate (GR) and AP course percentage given — include: 37. Dawson Springs, 83.83, 96 GR, 34 AP; 40. Madisonville-North Hopkins, 83.29, 91 GR, 33 AP; 78. Ballard Memorial, 66.56, 95 GR, 10 AP; 81. Mayfield, 65.04, 95 GR, 35 AP; 84. Graves County, 64.56, 95 GR, 24 AP; 86. Calloway County, 63.54, 97 GR, 18 AP; 91. Paducah Tilghman, 60.67, 86 GR, 34 AP; 100. Marshall County, 57.75, 97 GR, 33 AP; 119. Lyon County, 52.66, 98 GR, 38 AP; 129. Christian County, 49.22, 94 GR, 45 AP; 142. Hopkins County Central, 42.42, 91 GR, 23 AP; 145. Trigg County, 40.14, 94 GR, 10 AP; 161. Caldwell County, 34.15, 95 GR, 4 AP; 175. Hickman County, 27.66, 94 GR, 2 AP.

Five area schools on the state list were not given scores: Carlisle County (95 GR, no AP percentage given), Crittenden County (90 GR, no AP percentage given), Fulton City (81 GR, 11 AP), Fulton County (89 GR, no AP percentage given) and Livingston Central (93 GR, 31 AP).

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