By Leslie Noia
PUTNAM COUNTY - Columbus Grove and Kalida High Schools recently learned they were ranked high in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools listing for the state. In Ohio there are 892 schools and Columbus Grove ranked 20th while Kalida came in 60th, placing both schools in the top 100 best schools in Ohio.
Columbus Grove is nationally ranked at 502 and received a silver medal award. The Advance Placement (AP) participation rate for students was at 50 percent while the school's state test scores show a 96 percent proficiency in reading, 96 percent in math and a college readiness index for students at 45.7.
Kalida is nationally ranked at 1,249 and also received a silver medal award. The Advance Placement participation rate stands at 32 percent for students. Kalida also tested well in state exams giving them a 96 percent proficiency in reading, 98 percent in math and 28.4 in the college readiness index.
Overall, Putnam County schools were judged to being doing well, with most schools receiving a bronze medal award. In Ohio, 109 schools received a bronze and schools such as Ottawa-Glandorf, Continental, Miller City, Ottoville, Leipsic and Fort Jennings were all included in that list.
"We are very honored to be ranked 20th in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. I think it's a credit to many groups, the staff and administration's hard work for example. I would like to congratulate the students for their hard work. I would also like to thank the parents and the members of the community. Our community puts a high standard on our students and we are fortunate to have so many people put emphasis on our young people," said Columbus Grove's Superintendent Nick Verhoff.
"I am excited for the staff, the students and the community for their hard work. If you just look at all of the Putnam County Schools mentioned, it really is a reflection of what our communities expect from the kids and how much importance we place on education. It is nice to be recognized for the hard work. Just looking at some of the things in there, college readiness, it goes back to the commitment of the staff and the parents. They do a great job and the students really take advantage of the courses available," said Kalida Superintendent Don Horstman.
Horstman also said he wishes Putnam County Schools would receive more recognition from state and federal elected officials. "I wish we would receive more recognition for how well things are going in Putnam County. It really shows the one-size-fits-all solution isn't always the answer," he said.
Verhoff also spoke about how Putnam County schools' spending compares to the other schools in the state that were recognized.
"I think it is important to realize our school districts do an excellent job and they do it in an affordable way," said Verhoff. He said his research shows that per student Columbus Grove has a district expenditure of $8,145.23, the lowest amount spent individually of the top 25 rated schools. The next closest is Olentangy Liberty High School, spending $9,598 a year and the highest of the top 25 schools spends $21,776 per student a year.