In a report comparing high school overall academic performance in 2013, U.S. News said, in Decorah, “Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement work and exams,” adding the AP participation rate is 50 percent.
With total enrollment of 610, the report said DHS has a higher student-to-teacher ratio than the Iowa average, at 17 students to one teacher.
Total minority enrollment is 6 percent and the total number of economically disadvantaged students makes up 20 percent of the student population.
Based on student performance on state exit exams and internationally available exams on college-level coursework, 92 percent of students were proficient in reading, while 91 percent were proficient in math.
The only school in Iowa which is ranked above Decorah is John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, which ranks No. 550 nationally. (Decorah is ranked No. 637 on the national list.)
Ranking third in Iowa and No. 656 nationally is Ames High School. Cedar Falls High School ranks fourth in Iowa and No. 954 nationally, while Linn-Mar High School in Marion ranks No. 5 in Iowa and No. 1,077 in the nation. Sixth is Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman (No. 1,160 in the nation) and seventh is ADM Senior High School in Adel, which ranks 1,302nd in the country. Rounding out Iowa’s top ten are West Liberty High School (No. 8 in the state/No. 1,581 nationally), Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids (No. 9/Iowa and NO. 1,603 nationally) and Ankeny High School at No. 10 in the state and No. 1,764 in the nation.
The national report credits Iowa for having one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation.
“Built into Iowa's state curriculum are lessons to provide students with ‘21st Century Skills,’ which include civic, financial, health and technology literacy, as well as employment skills, according to the Iowa Department of Education,” said the report.
“There are many Iowa schools in the U.S. News Best High Schools 2013 rankings, including 21 silver medal schools (the category they placed Decorah in) and 71 bronze medal schools. A few of Iowa's top-ranked high schools are located in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, which is roughly 130 miles from the state capital of Des Moines.”
In response to the accolades, Decorah Superintendent Mike Haluska said, "This level of achievement is a tremendous compliment for our entire staff, our students and an extremely supportive community. By continually looking to 'raise the bar' academically across the District, our achievement levels continue to rise. The recognition by US News and World Report is a terrific affirmation of this collective effort."
Decorah High School Principal Kim Sheppard added, “We are honored and humbled to once again be recognized by U.S. News and World Report, as the number two high school in the State of Iowa. This honor is truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teachers as they strive to challenge our students on a daily basis and to the manner in which our students have responded. We are aware the honors we have received would not be possible without the solid educational foundation that has been put in place by all teachers who have previously worked with our students. It is truly a team effort and would not happen without the efforts of all.”
For the full version of the report, visit usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.