LCHS ranked 47th among Kentucky high schools

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

STANFORD — A national publication says Lincoln County High School ranks among the Top 50 high schools in the state.

The report from U.S. News & World report ranks LCHS 47th out of 382 Kentucky High Schools.

To determine the Best High Schools for 2019, U.S. News reviewed more than 23,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 2016-17 school year.

“In 16-17, we had a real clear picture of what accountability was based on and we were working hard with meeting those measures,” Lincoln County High School Principal Michael Godbey said. “That was also the year that we came out of priority status, so we’d gone through all of that work.”

More than 17,000 schools were ranked on six factors: graduation rate, underserved student performance, math and reading performance, math and reading proficiency, college readiness, and college curriculum breadth.

Lincoln County High School, which had a student population of 1,066 in grades 9-12 in the 2016-17 school year, had an AP participation rate of 30%. The total minority enrollment was 9%, and 56% of students were economically disadvantaged. The student-teacher ratio was 17:1.

LCHS had an overall score of 77.85. On the scorecard, the school showed that 30% of its students took at least one AP exam, that 13% passed at least one AP exam, that 56% were proficient in mathematics and that 59% were proficient in reading. The school had a graduation rate of 96%.

Godbey was more than pleased to hear how LCHS stood in the statewide rankings.

“That’s great! That just goes to show the hard work that we were putting in at that time really pays off. That’s very exciting,” he said. “I had not seen the rankings. I know the rankings come out every year and I had not seen those. Based on those factors, college readiness was a huge part of them, college curriculum, the AP classes that we have going. We worked real hard on graduation rate, making sure every kid was graduating, and graduating career ready.”

While a couple years have passed since U.S. News conducted its review, Lincoln’s emphasis on education has remained basically the same.

“We have continued to focus on teaching the standards and making sure kids are prepared in one course for the next course,” Godbey said. “If it’s English I, that they have got the skills to move to English II. If it’s Algebra I, that they have the skills to move to Geometry and Algebra II. We’ve just continued to focus on teaching standards and making sure kids are prepared. Regardless of what tests they throw at us, we’ve got kids prepared … We continue to focus on making sure kids, when they leave the high school, are prepared for whatever next step they are going to take, be it a career, college, military, whatever.”

Just how LCHS, which ranked #3,819 nationally, is faring accountability-wise today versus 2016-17 is an unknown. However, that’s not an indication that the school staff is not trying to meet accountability standards.

“In 16-17, we had a real clear accountability system. And now our accountability system is a mess because they’ve changed all the accountability and how it’s calculated,” said Godbey. “I’m all for holding us accountable for preparing kids but, first of all, tell us what you’re going to hold us accountable for so we can prepare kids. And don’t spend all year long testing kids and testing kids and testing kids.”

“I just hate the fact that a lot of times it seems like all we’re doing is preparing kids for tests. We’re throwing another test in front of them. We literally start testing in September and we don’t stop until May. There’s some kind of test going on all the time,” he added. “I think the state forces us into that because they hold us accountable based on these tests.”

Godbey says the tests keep changing and that’s what makes trying to hit accountability targets so frustrating. “We’re okay with the target if you tell us what the target is, but you keep changing and moving the target.”

While the rankings reflect the school’s performance in past years, Godbey says that the goal of the LCHS staff is unchanged.

“Our goal is just to prepare kids so they’re ready for whatever comes beyond the four years that they’re here. If we do that, then I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied that we’ve done what we needed to do.”

“Lincoln’s a great place. We’ve got a great staff. We’ve got a great program going on and I’m blessed to be here with the folks that I have to work with.”

Boyle County High School was the only other area high school in the Top 50 in rankings, sitting at 20 statewide. Boyle, which has a student enrollment of 862, had numbers similar to Lincoln in AP participation (35%), minority enrollment (7%) and graduation rate (97%).

All other area high schools were ranked between 101 and 167. Garrard County High School was at 101, Casey County High School was at 117, Mercer County Senior High School was at 120, Danville High School was at 142 and Burgin High School was at 167.