Durham boasts state’s No. 1 school in magazine’s rankings

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Durham School of the Arts topped this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings for the best high schools in North Carolina.

The Durham Public Schools arts school, which serves grades 6-12, ranked 176th among the nation’s high schools.

“This is very much a reflection of the quality and dedication of our teachers and our school staff as a whole,” said David Hawks, DSA’s principal. “It represents the hard work and focus on academic and artistic excellence of our students. It represents the support of our parents for their children and for our school as well.”

Although DSA has impressed U.S. News enough in the past to reach 231st place in the nation, this year marks the first time the school has outpaced its peers throughout North Carolina.

The U.S. News rankings primarily are a measure of diversity, educational proficiency and participation in Advanced Placement tests.

DSA’s student body is 65 percent minority, with about 39 percent qualifying as economically disadvantaged. About 71 percent of students took AP tests. Of those, 84 percent passed.

Hawks credited community partners, such as Duke University, Durham Performing Arts Center and the Reality Center, for supporting and inspiring DSA students. He also lauded the progressive vision of the DPS Board of Education for providing DSA as a choice for students.

“I think we have some really incredible teachers here and a lot of students that are very focused on doing their best,” Hawks said Thursday. “The kids at this high school are some of the most focused I’ve ever seen. They’re not arrogant; they’re just focused. They know they have to do the work if they’re going to be successful.”

DSA wasn’t alone in representing our region in the U.S. News rankings.

The second best school in North Carolina, according to the list, was Carrboro High School in Orange County. The top-ranked high school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district has 71 percent participation in AP exams and 44 percent minority enrollment.

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