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County schools named to list

Profile image for By Britney Tabor
By Britney Tabor

Ryan High among six area institutions to earn spot in national ranking

Six Denton County schools are among the 2014 Best High Schools list recently released by U.S. News & World Report.

This year’s list includes profiles from more than 19,400 high schools across the country and ranks 4,707 of the nation’s highest-scoring schools throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also ranked were the nation’s Best Charter Schools, Best Magnet Schools and Best STEM Schools.

Five of the six Denton County schools listed were among the nation’s top-ranked high schools and top 200 high schools in Texas — Ryan High School in the Denton school district, Flower Mound and Marcus high schools in the Lewisville school district, Byron Nelson High School in the Northwest school district and Argyle High School.

Lake Dallas High School was recognized with the U.S. News Bronze Medal, which recognizes high-performing schools based on state exam performance.

Named the best high school in the nation for the third straight year was the School for the Talented and Gifted at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center in Dallas.

The rankings were based on data specific to each school on location, enrollment, ethnicity and performance on state, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams and “a comprehensive methodology.” Each eligible school was given a “College Readiness Index score,” ranked numerically and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals, according to a U.S. News media release.

Gold medals were given to 500 high schools, silver medals went to 1,519 schools — including Flower Mound, Marcus, Byron Nelson, Ryan and Argyle high schools — and bronze medals were awarded to 2,688 high schools, including Lake Dallas High. U.S News teamed with American Institutes Research, a Washington, D.C.-based behavioral and social science organization, to produce the Best High Schools list.

Lewisville school district’s Flower Mound High School ranked 587th nationally on the list and No. 68 in the state. Marcus High School was ranked 794th in the nation and No. 82 in the state. Officials with the Lewisville school district could not be reached for comment.

Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club ranked No. 1,019 in the nation and No. 105 in the state. Principal Linda Parker said this is the first time the school has been named to the list. She said the school provides an “aligned curriculum” that prepares students for a successful future and this recognition is indicative of that.

“We are extremely excited,” she said. “It’s always nice to get acclamation about what we’re doing academically.”

Argyle High School ranked No. 1,028 in the nation and No. 106 in the state. Jeff Butts, the school principal, said the school has a goal each year to continue getting better. The high school was also included on last year’s list.

“It’s just an honor to be ranked, and we just need to keep getting better,” he said.

Ryan High School in Denton ranked No. 1,815 nationally and No. 173 in the state.

Principal Vernon Reeves said this is the first time the school has been named to the list since 2004. He attributes the school’s successes with the school board and administrators providing “the proper amount of resources and programs to our campus to ensure success” and everyone working together to create an atmosphere successful for students, Reeves wrote in an email.

“To be recognized as a high school that ranks in the top 10 [percent] of schools in the country validates the work our teachers and community are doing every day at Billy Ryan High School,” he wrote.

This is the second consecutive year Lake Dallas High School has been recognized by U.S. News. Last year the school received the Silver Medal.

“The students, campus and district receiving recognition two years in a row is a substantial honor,” wrote Superintendent Gayle Stinson in an email regarding this year’s Bronze Medal recognition. “Our students are focused, our teachers are dedicated and our community supports us with purpose. That’s a winning combination.”

To view U.S. News’ Best High Schools, visit

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.