We are extremely proud to share the news that in their annual review of American public high schools, U.S. News and World Report has awarded Presidio High School a Gold Medal, their highest honor. Of the 28,496 public high schools, Presidio was one of only 64 schools with economically disadvantaged populations over 75% to receive the Gold Medal. As part of the awards process, U.S. News also ranked high schools, and Presidio ranked as #299 among public high schools in the U.S., #11 among Arizona high schools, and #3 among high schools in the city of Tucson. Among charter schools, Presidio ranked #81 in the nation, #6 in Arizona, and #2 in the city of Tucson. Among Title One schools, Presidio ranked #1 in Arizona, and was the only Title I school in Arizona to earn a Gold Medal.
Most of Presidio High School’s offerings are Advanced Placement and Honors level. Presidio High School’s amazing faculty includes Ms. Shelley Moreno (Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Master Teacher and Social Studies), Mr. Ryan Lang (English Language Arts), Ms. Chelsea Barberi (Science), Ms. Kendra Baker (Math), Mr. Mike Sadler (Music), Ms. Bobbette Gilliland (Visual Arts), Mr. Jorge Farias (Sports Fitness), Ms. Rossella Tapia (Spanish), Ms. Lauren Cmiel (Tech Ed), Ms. Jessica Puls (Career, College and Civic Readiness) and Mr. David Vick (Capoeira). Congratulations to our Bulldog faculty, whose expertise and dedication have brought about this tremendous accomplishment!
It is important to note the rigorous nature of the selection process used to determine our nation’s Best High Schools. The first step determined whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for students in that state. U.S. News started by looking at reading and math results for all students on each state’s high school proficiency tests. To pass Step 1, high schools’ performance had to be one-third of one standard deviation above the average. Presidio’s students easily met this criterion, scoring 64% higher than statistical expectations. For schools passing the first step, Step 2 assessed whether their disadvantaged students – black, Hispanic and low-income – performed at or better than the state average for the least-advantaged students. Disadvantaged students at Presidio scored at 72% proficiency, which was 53% better than disadvantaged students in Arizona as a whole, and well above the average for non-disadvantaged students in Arizona. For schools passing the first and second step, Step 3 required schools to meet or surpass a benchmark for their graduation rate. High schools only passed Step 3 if their rounded graduation rate was 75 percent or greater. Presidio’s graduation rate in 2016 was 100%. Schools that made it through the first three steps became eligible to be judged nationally on the final step – college-readiness index or CRI – using Advanced Placement (AP) test data as the benchmark for success. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the country. To be numerically ranked nationally, a high school had to pass Steps 1-3 and have a CRI value at or above 20.91, which was this year’s national median. Presidio’s CRI is 64.1, more than triple the required value!
A few other statistics give further perspective on Presidio High School’s accomplishment. Only 9.6% of medal-winning schools were charters, and less than ½ of a percent of charter school received a Gold Medal. Additionally, only 13% of schools with greater than 75% of students receiving free or reduced lunch received any kind of medal. Presidio is in that category, with 78% of high school students receiving free or reduced lunch and again, we won the Gold! However one looks at it, Presidio has distinguished itself. Those of us in the Presidio family have known for a long time that our faculty and students consistently work hard to achieve great academic success. We are thrilled at this validation of what we already knew and hope that the word will be spread about the great things happening at Presidio and the opportunities for students willing to dream big and work hard.
All the best,
Mark Saliba, Ed.D.