U.S.News and World Report ranks Walden III High School among the best in the country.
The magazine gives Walden a Bronze medal -- one of 50 medals doled out to the state's 500 high schools -- and the only school honored in Racine County.
U.S. News recognized 100 schools across the U.S. with Gold medals -- but found none worthy of that award in Wisconsin. Three state schools were awarded Silver medals: Gibraltar High School in Fish Creek, Milwaukee School of Languages and Rufus King High School in Milwaukee.
Walden, as we've reported before, stands apart from Racine's other public high schools in some measurable stats: Its graduation rate last year, for example, was 100%; the closest another RUSD high school came was Case's 75.6%. Walden's dropout rate was .3%; Case's is 5.4% and Park HS's was 8.4%.
Walden's 10th grade students score significantly higher on standardized tests than students in other RUSD high schools -- for example, 90.5% on Language, compared to Case's 54.9% and Horlick's 50.6%.
Walden has just 298 students, compared to about 2,000 each in Case, Horlick and Park. Seventy-nine percent of Walden's students take the ACT test, and score a composite 22. At Case -- again, the best of the other schools -- only 40% take the ACT, but their composite score bests Walden's by a fraction: 22.1.
Of the 21,786 public high schools examined by U.S. News and its partner in the project, School Evaluation Services, 1,750 were recognized for considerably outperforming their state's standards, based on academic and enrollment data from the 2007-2008 school year. This is the third year the magazine has rated U.S. high schools -- and the top-ranked school each time has been Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, which offers courses in DNA science, neurobiology and quantum physics. Methodology here.
Based on the percentage of eligible schools in the state awarded Gold or Silver medals, U.S. News ranks Wisconsin schools 44th. The complete state-by-state table is here.