Heber Springs school ranks 10th in state

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published May 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2013 at 2:19 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Heber Springs High School junior Matt Woodson replaces a screen on an iPod Touch during a computer class.

Heber Springs High School Principal Justin Johnston can add one more item to the list of things he’s proud of this year.

The school was recently ranked 10th in the 2013 Best High Schools in Arkansas report, released by U.S. News & World Report.

“Year in and year out, our students are getting a solid education,” Johnston said. “We’ve had a lot of success in our extracurricular activities, and that makes students enjoy coming to school even more.”

The rankings use data on school location, enrollment, ethnicity, state-assessment test results and Advanced Placement testing, along with other criteria, to rank schools. Heber Springs High School ranks 1,675th among high schools across the nation and earned a silver medal based on the ranking criteria.

“One of the proudest moments of the year for me was when Andrew Powell became a National Merit Scholar and got a perfect score on his ACT,” Johnston said.

Johnston acknowledged that funds received by being a Title I school have made a significant impact on the school.

“Those funds deal with the economic status of the school, and we’re able to use that money in providing technology for students inside the classrooms,” Johnston said.

In the past few years, history and English classes at the high school have been given laptops with Internet access to allow for student research, and the school is looking to add new technology in science and math classrooms in upcoming years, Johnston said.

Johnston pointed to programs such as the school’s networking and operations classes as helping graduates become employable in technology fields straight out of high school. One class is working to turn an ordinary lab desk into a touch-screen computer using remotes and a projector.

Athletic success has injected pride in the school from students as well, with every sport aside from baseball winning a conference championship in the past few years.

“We’ve been very lucky,” Johnston said. “Success breeds success.”

More information on the U.S. News & World Report rankings can be found at usnews.com/best-high-schools.

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Associate Features Editor Emily Van Zandt can be reached at .

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