CIMS Tops Region with Gold from U.S. News; UP Earns Silver

Photo by Veronica Hill / CIMS Students at Cobalt Institute of Math and Science create an art piece to help them understand the different parts of a human heart. CIMS was named the top high school in the region in the recent U.S. News & World Report rankings.

By Staff Reports

(Victorville) — Two Victor Valley Union High School District schools were ranked highest in the region in the U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools rankings released Wednesday.

Cobalt Institute of Math and Science was ranked 83rd in California and 486th in the nation by U.S. News, earning the magazine’s gold medal award. The STEM-focused, grade-7-12 school of choice in Victorville was the highest-ranked school in San Bernardino or Riverside counties.

University Preparatory, a fellow VVUHSD school, earned silver status with a No. 106 ranking in California, 620th in the nation. UP, a grade 7-12 school of choice, was also ranked higher than any other school in the two counties.

UP has been ranked five years in a row by U.S. News, and this is the second year in a row for CIMS.

“We are very proud to see not one, but two of our schools leading the region on this very prestigious list,” Victor Valley Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Ron Williams said. “It speaks to the hard work of every staff member, student, family member and community member who has helped make these schools successful.”

CIMS earned a score of 58.3 on the U.S. News College Readiness Index, and UP scored 54.3.

The next-highest ranking school in the High Desert was the Academy for Academic Excellence,  an Apple Valley charter school. AAE won silver with a ranking of 367th in California and 1,874th nationally. Riverside Preparatory, a charter in Oro Grande, was also a silver medalist, ranked No. 376 in the state and No. 1,911 nationally.

Local schools earning bronze-level state rankings included Serrano High School (No. 546) and Sultana High School (No. 560). Barstow High School and Academy of Careers and Exploration (Helendale) were unranked, but each earned a bronze “nationally recognized” distinction.

Just two percent of schools in the nation earn gold each year, while 11 percent receive silver and 16 percent earn bronze.

According to U.S. News & World Report, four criteria determine the rankings:

— Student graduation rates met a threshold of at least 80 percent.

— Students exceeded expectations in their states on reading and mathematics assessments, factoring in the proportion of its student body that is economically disadvantaged and projected to score lower.

— Underserved students (African-American, Latino and low-income) performed better than the state average on reading and mathematics assessments.

— Students were prepared for college-level coursework according to a College Readiness Index based on the percentages of each school’s students who took and passed AP exams.

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