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Gray Stone makes top 20 NC high schools

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — One of North Carolina’s best high schools is just a stone’s throw away, according to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools” rankings, which were released Tuesday.

Gray Stone Day School, located on Pfeiffer University’s campus in Misenheimer, was ranked 18th in the state, beating out local public schools. The only other nearby schools to make it into the top 20 were Lake Norman Charter School in Huntersville, which ranked 11th, and Community School of Davidson, which ranked 15th.

“Best High Schools” ranks the top 56 schools in the state. Pine Lake Preparatory in Mooresville and William Amos Hough High in Cornelius also made the top 50.

Gray Stone ranked 518th on a national level, according to the report. U.S. News and World Report ranks high schools according to four factors: whether students perform better than expected in their state on proficiency tests; whether disadvantaged students perform better than the state average; whether graduation rates meet or exceed the national standard; and whether students are prepared for college-level work according to student participation and performance on advanced-placement exams.
According to the report, reading and math results on state assessments were taken to account in performance and then factored into the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, who tend to score lower on tests.

Schools with graduation rates lower than 75 percent were not considered for the list.
Helen Nance, chief administrative officer for Gray Stone Day School, said she was pleased to hear about the ranking. This is the fourth year the school has made the top 20, she said, and she’s “very proud of all the hard work students and teachers put in to make this school a success.”

“What’s really wonderful is that we are one of the only rural schools in that top 20,” Nance said.

Most of the schools in the top 20 are based in urban areas such as Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Asheville or Greensboro — which is home to the top-ranked school in the state, Phillip J. Weaver Education Center.

But unlike some schools on the list, Gray Stone functions like a public school and has no entrance requirements. Students come from different backgrounds that reflect the population of the eight rural counties the school serves.

According to the report, Gray Stone has an 11 percent minority enrollment. About 68 percent of students take an AP exam, with 75 percent of those passing the test. Gray Stone is also ranked 120th in a list of top charter high schools in the nation.

Gray Stone Day School is a charter high school that opened in 2002 and has an enrollment of 450. Plans are underway to open a middle school serving grades six through eight.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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