HHS 14th
(Harlan, Ky.) – Harlan High School jumped five spots to #14 in the latest U.S. & News World Report for the best Kentucky High Schools. Prior to the pandemic Harlan High School was ranked 19th and has been making a steady climb over the last five years, jumping from 31st in 2016 to a new high in 2022. 

The report ranks the 390 Kentucky public and private High Schools and nearly 18,000 high schools across the nation on a weighted scale for six key areas that include; College Readiness, Proficiency on State Assessments, Performance levels on State Assessments, Performance of Underserved Students, Breadth of College Curriculum, and Graduation Rate.

As a result of the performance of Harlan High School in these areas, ranking 14th in Kentucky places them in the top 3% of Kentucky schools and the top 8% in the US. 

Harlan High School had been recognized as one of the best high schools by the U.S. News & World Report since 2008. Superintendent C.D. Morton was elated with the report, stating “I am pleasantly surprised with the rankings, given the fact that the pandemic altered the delivery of instruction for the last two years, to be among the top 3% of Kentucky High Schools is just fantastic. This is evidence that our students are going to bounce back.” 

Emphasizing that schools must focus on ensuring success for all students, Morton acknowledged the challenges to make that happen. “We are a small school district with very little margin for error when it comes to student performance. Supporting kids from Preschool through High School with an emphasis on a challenging curriculum with adequate support can pay off big for our students, the work to get them to believe in themselves is often the hardest part. Clearly the system is designed for student success, but our schools go beyond simply offering a menu of courses, we strive to meet the needs of every kid and the results are clear. Every parent deserves a high quality education for their child, no matter their circumstances. Being a small district creates some challenges for us at times, however we believe the results speak for themselves.” 

“In the midst of so many challenges at the local level, we sometimes forget what a great job our schools are doing to help prepare students to compete on a national level. Our students are among the nation’s very best. It all starts with high expectations and students and staff know we are going to support them to achieve their very best.” stated Harlan High School Principal Britt Lawson.

The methodology the U.S. and World News Report uses to calculate ranking has changed slightly over the years but matches what Harlan emphasizes for student success noted Curriculum Supervisor, Jennifer Parsons. “It’s great to see that what we think is important for a strong school experience aligns with what others professionals value. Successful schools have to make classroom instruction a priority. Preparing our graduates for college or career while demonstrating a high level of proficiency and achievement on state assessments illustrates our commitment to what is really important. Schools are dynamic places with lots of moving parts, but the classroom experience must remain the focus for long term student success. 

To find out more about the selection and methodology you may visit: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/kentucky/rankings