Northwest Arkansas is home to seven of the state's top 10 public high schools, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
Haas Hall Academy led the state's high schools in the 2021 Best High Schools rankings, released Tuesday. Data is from the 2018-2019 academic school year and wasn't affected by the covid-19 pandemic, according to the release.
Haas Hall serves grades 7-12 with campuses in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale and Rogers. The Fayetteville campus was named the No. 1 public high school in Arkansas, and the Bentonville campus was ranked No. 2.
"Being selected as the best public high school in the state of Arkansas is the culmination of the hard work of dedicated scholars, highly qualified faculty and involved parents," said Martin Schoppmeyer, Haas Hall founder and superintendent. "We are proud of the efforts put in by everyone in our academic community."
Bentonville was first in the state and Fayetteville was second last year.
Fayetteville also ranked as the ninth best charter school in the nation and Bentonville as 17. Bentonville was second and Fayetteville was sixth among nearly 1,900 charter high schools nationwide last year. Both campuses have placed in the top 100 schools in the nation for the last three years.
Haas Hall is a charter school district. Charter schools are public schools open to all students and don't charge tuition.
Fayetteville ranked 50 and Bentonville 80 nationally for public schools, compared to 32 and 8, respectively, in 2020.
Bentonville High School dropped to fourth in the state and 653 in the nation. The school was third in the state and 512 in the nation last year. LISA Academy North High Charter School in Sherwood was third in the state this year.
New Technology High School, a charter school operated by the Rogers School District, maintained its spot as fifth in the state for the second year in a row. The school is 733 nationally, compared to 845 in 2020.
Northwest Arkansas' next highest finisher was Fayetteville High School at seventh in the state and 1,145 in the nation, a decrease from fourth in the state and 524 nationally last year.
Arkansas Arts Academy, a charter school in Rogers, placed ninth in the state and 1,268 nationally, a jump from 20th in the state and 2,301 in 2020. The school placed 223 for charter schools nationally.
"We're thrilled to get the commendation from U.S. News & World Report, and we're looking into the information as provided from the state of Arkansas," said Richard Burrows, school CEO.
Burrows said he wanted to compare the report with information compiled by the Arkansas Department of Education.
U.S. News doesn't collect any information directly from high schools, according to the publication. The data used to produce the Best High Schools rankings comes entirely from third-party sources, including the U.S. Department of Education.
The Bentonville School District's West High School in Centerton was 10th in the state and 1,277 nationally. The school was 13 in the state and 1,545 nationally last year. West High debuted in the U.S. News ranking in 2020 because the school, which opened in 2016, wasn't eligible for evaluation in prior years.
The state's top 10 schools are rounded out with Greenbrier High School in sixth place and Bismarck High School in eighth. Greenbrier was seventh and Bismark was 11 last year.
The publication evaluated more than 17,800 public high schools throughout the country, measuring how well schools serve students from various social and economic backgrounds, according to a publication news release.
U.S. News & World Report focuses on college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates to determine the best schools, according to the release. College readiness specifically measures participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams.
Information U.S. News reported on Haas Hall's Fayetteville and Bentonville graduation rates was inaccurate, said Rod Wittenberg, headmaster of the Bentonville campus.
The graduation rate of both campuses is right at, or very near, 100%, he said. The U.S. News rankings show a graduation rate of about 95% for Fayetteville and about 77% for Bentonville, he said.
"Graduation rate is one of the metrics used to derive this ranking; therefore, I am disappointed for our scholars that their national ranking reflects this error," Wittenberg said.
Schoppmeyer attributed Fayetteville's drop from 8 to 80 nationally to the error.
"Haas Hall Academy has traditionally had the highest graduation rate in the state," he said.
U.S. News named Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., the best public high school in the country for the second year in a row.
U.S. News ranked 271 high schools in Arkansas. Other large Northwest Arkansas schools and how they ranked in the state: Rogers High School, 21; Springdale's Har-Ber High School, 40; Rogers' Heritage High School, 89; Springdale High School, 180.
Arkansas’ top public high schools
Here are the top 10 public high schools in Arkansas according to the 2021 rankings by U.S. News & World Report. National ranking is in parentheses. For more information, visit www.usnews.com/education.
- Haas Hall Academy, Fayetteville (50)
- Haas Hall Academy, Bentonville (80)
- Lisa Academy North High Charter School, Sherwood (491)
- Bentonville High School (653)
- New Technology High School, Rogers (733)
- Greenbrier High School (892)
- Fayetteville High School (1,145)
- Bismarck High School (1,231)
- Arkansas Arts Academy, Rogers (1,268)
- West High School, Centerton (1,277)
Source: U.S. News & World Report