GMHS #19 on US News High School List

By FALLS CHURCH CITY SCHOOLS COMMUNICATIONS
May 8, 2012

George Mason High School is ranked in the top 20 on a list of “America’s Best High Schools”, released today by US News and World Report (USNWR) magazine. Mason is ranked 1st among traditional Virginia public high schools and 19th of the nearly 22,000 high schools across the country included in the survey.

“The entire George Mason community is committed to excellence in mind, body, and character. We expect to achieve at high levels throughout our student body, and while the results are nice to hear, we are not surprised,” said George Mason Principal, Ty Byrd.

“We are confident that each Mason student is provided with a rigorous academic challenge and consistent support as they strive to reach individual and group goals. Thanks to our students, ou

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r teachers, counselors, administrators, assistant superintendent, superintendent and our school board. We are truly an exceptional community,” Byrd said.

The magazine also noted the school’s strong community in its review. “George Mason emphasizes parent involvement through conferences, parent nights and open houses,” the magazine reports. “The school’s proximity to Washington, D.C. and the agencies and international organizations in the area, draws in a culturally diverse student body.”

The magazine awarded George Mason with a Gold Medal for achieving a perfect 100.0 rating in the USNWR College Readiness Index which is based on exam participation rates and the percentage of students passing at least one exam. Mason reached 98% proficiencies in Reading and Geometry.

The school was also cited for its International Baccalaureate program and electives such as Mandarin Chinese and personal finance.

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May 8, 2012 

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15 Responses to “GMHS #19 on US News High School List”

  1. Dudley McDonald Mechanicsville, VA on May 9th, 2012 5:41 am

    Back in the day (as some say)….#1 meant “in the nation” !

  2. Brian Rye (Falls Church) on May 9th, 2012 8:59 am

    Congratulations to the students and the faculty/staff!

  3. D. Wayne Jones on May 9th, 2012 9:23 am

    No wonder we have such a student growth problem (challenge). Maybe if our schools weren’t so good, we wouldn’t have all “those” people wanting to move here so their children can get a good education and better themselves.

    “If you build it, they will come.”

  4. Brian Sulc, Falls Church on May 9th, 2012 9:42 am

    I think GM is a an excellent school, but these rankings are just one of mamy means to measure a school. For instance, if you look at the colleges GM kids go on to, GM comes up short against a lot of schools that are even in the D.C. area (Bethesda-Chevy Chase,Whitman, Churchill, etc.). This is even taking into account the size of our graduating classes. That is just one measurement, but interesting nonetheless, since the most competitive colleges apparently may not necessarily share US News’ opinion. Regardless, I’m glad we’re here. Let’s just not start falling in love with our press clippings but rather, maintain a positive, but sober self-assessment.

  5. Cecily Shea on May 9th, 2012 12:53 pm

    @Brian Sulc
    We need to not only look at where our students GO to college, but also where they get ACCEPTED. Some students get into quite prestigious schools, but they and their families choose for them to go elsewhere due to financial considerations.

  6. Brian Sulc, Falls Church on May 10th, 2012 8:59 am

    Cecily,
    I agree that looking at where our kids are accepted would give a a more complete picture, although, given one of our other high rankings of per capita income, I suspect we have no more kids opting out of colleges because of the price tag than any other high school.

  7. Cecily Shea on May 10th, 2012 11:01 am

    Brian,
    I have heard of 2 instances this year where kids have opted out of attending Ivy schools in favor of UVA. Unlike the schools you mentioned above, our kids have some phenomenal in-state choices.

  8. Brian Sulc, Falls Church on May 10th, 2012 5:20 pm

    If I look at the list of colleges that our kids are off to, and I see UVA, then I consider that close enough to an Ivy to count it as one (I recognize some woudn’t). But the GMHS list of colleges I have seen in the past have typically included a few kids going to UVA, MAYBE one or two off to an Ivy, and not a whole lot more in that range. I only mentioned B-CC, Whitman, and Churchill HS’s because I happen to have insight into them. Although they are bigger, you can just look at one of their lists, and I’ve seen kids headed to virtually all the Ivies, the service academies, Stanford, Berkeley, etc. from just one of those given HS’s. Not sure if No VA has some high schools that have commensurate track records as the three MD HS’s I mentioned, but you can find Walter Johnson and Wootton in Mont Co in that category as well . Probably not that hard to find out. This in not to say that those highest ranked colleges necessarily do the best job of positively impacting their students; but it is a good way to see what the folks who make it their business to know the quality of high schools, think of GMHS.

  9. vlfrance, City of Falls Church on May 10th, 2012 7:08 pm

    100% success rate for college? That is excellent and notable for a public high school. I believe Ivy or not is irrelevant to the statistic.

    If you look at other high schools with less of a success rate compared to Falls Church – BCC, Whitman, etc., they have different populations. Many parents will push for Ivys, as many of them are alumni, and we have to also look at the wealth factor. Public high schools aren’t usually where Ivy league schools look for students.

    I am adding my comment because I believe any child going to college is an accomplishment, Ivy-bound or not. And, VA colleges and universities have excellent reputations in general.

  10. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on May 10th, 2012 9:21 pm

    The US News and World Report rankings are mildly interesting but do they really matter?

    If you have your heart set on your kid going to a fancy college your best bet is to pick the right private high school and try to get your kid in there – you probably shouldn’t be shopping around for public schools.

    The fact that George Mason makes the list is great – to me it means that no matter how you measure things the school is better than most in the country.

  11. Jody Acosta on May 11th, 2012 9:07 am

    Brian and Cecily, I think another thing that impacts our students’ choices of where they apply and go to college is school size. Our kids come from a very small school system, in what is virtually a “small town”, or Little City – whichever you prefer :-).

    I know some kids who have been imtimidated to apply to a school that has individual class sizes that are larger than their entire high school!

    Our small class sizes and small school system work for our kids when they are younger, but may actually work against them when they get older and are ready to start looking at colleges. (Also, when the HS is trying to field a football team!)

    Some kids I have talked with, who are full IB, GPA of 4.0+, well-rounded, etc.. aren’t even applying to larger, well-known schools. They say things like “I don’t want to go to a school where I’m just a number.” They want to go to smaller, but perhaps less well-known schools… and Cecily is right – we have excellent colleges/universitys here in Virginia, so that is a contributing factor.

    At any rate – way to go GMHS! And Andy, YES, the rankings matter… if nothing else they help get the GM name out to colleges (including the Ivys!) that have not heard of our small little high school!

    Maybe it’s a combination of factors – our small school size, the excellent colleges here in Virginia in our own back yards and the soaring costs of tuition? I’m not sure, frankly.

    Good discussion about issues I have long pondered!

  12. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on May 11th, 2012 9:18 am

    Hi Jody,

    Yeah, don’t get me wrong – I think it’s cool that we get ranked. I just don’t want us to worry about it too much. I think our schools are great regardless of what US News and World Report thinks. Whether they say we’re 19th or 119th or 1,119th I think our kids are doing fine getting into colleges that suit them (but you’re right, every lit bit helps in the competitive college application process so having a high school ranking doesn’t hurt).

  13. Brian Sulc on May 11th, 2012 12:35 pm

    vlfrance – Not sure if you are suggesting we have 100% of our seniors go to college. If I’m misinterpreting, please forgive me, but I know seniors who are not going to college. Also more than 50% of Ivy League students came from public schools.

    Andy, Jody, Cecily – Please don’t get me wrong either. I tout that ranking all the time when I’m describing our community, schools, etc. to someone who doesn’t know about Falls Church. I’m glad we have that in our quiver. But my point all along has been not very different from Andy’s. The rankings are nice, but let’s not think more of them than we ought to. Although, the rankings are certainly nice to have in our back pocket, and although GMHS is certainly a great school, it is nonetheless striking and interesting that given all the things we like to brag about, our list of colleges is not commensurate with a school listed as high as it is. And colleges are in the business to know where the best students come from. The possible explanations by Jody and Cecily are certainly plausible. And to me, it’s just an interesting thing to discuss and maybe a little fun to bring up because of all the chest thumping we do about our schools. In actuality, I don’t aspire for my five kids to get in the highest ranked colleges. If they want to, great. But a lot of studies show that the schools that serve the students best, and prepare them best, are NOT those highest ranking schools which often get ranked based on research and professors’ publishing. Furthermore, the people that have impressed me the most in my life, professionally, in terms of honor, principles, effectiveness, etc, have usually NOT been from the high ranked schools. So if GMHS IS academically great, but maybe not as academically great as we believe or as we brag about, so what? We’re very fortunate to have our kids in GMHS, but there is so much more to preparing our kids for adversity, real success and service in this world.

  14. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on May 25th, 2012 9:17 am

    Hey, news of George Mason grad going to an Ivy League school: http://fallschurch.patch.com/articles/mason-hoops-star-verbally-commits-to-penn

    Well done Ms. Cheney!

  15. J Edwards, FCC on April 16th, 2013 7:45 pm

    This is a sad development. As the Post notes, GMHS had been number one nationally for several straight years–and not all that long ago. Looks like the school board is more fixated on getting toys from Apple than doing good, old fashioned educating.