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HCS Celebrates Recognition as Top Performers in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 Best High Schools Rankings

September 1, 2023

(Hoover, AL) -  The Hoover City Schools (HCS) District is proud to announce that its two (2) high schools, Hoover High School (HHS) and Spain Park High School (SPHS), were named among the Best High Schools in Alabama for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report. SPHS took the 6th spot on the list, and HHS ranked as the #14 best high school in the state. This prestigious recognition highlights the dedication of HCS to providing exceptional education and preparing students for future success. U.S. News and World Report also ranked SPHS as the #4 best high school in the Birmingham Metro area and selected HHS as the #7 best high school in the Birmingham Metro.

   HHS and SPHS Class of 2023 Data:

  • 23 National Merit Semi-Finalists 

  • 97.3% Graduation rate

  • 87% College attendance rate

  • 8% Entered military or workforce

  • 92% College or career ready

  • 71% Qualifying scores on AP exams

  • 55% of graduates received scholarships totaling $67,382,511 

  • The average scholarship accepted was $40,873 per recipient

Spain Park High Principal Dr. Amanda Esslinger said, "We are so excited and proud to be named to the Top High Schools list again and as #6 this time! Our students, teachers, and, really, every member of the faculty and staff work tirelessly to be the best they can be and to achieve our goals. This ranking highlights some but certainly not all of the results of their efforts to help students grow, learn, and succeed at and after Spain Park.”

Hoover High Principal Jennifer Hogan said, “We are so proud of our recent U.S. News & World Report ranking! While we are thrilled to be ranked #14 in Alabama, we still have some work to do and are still climbing. Our ranking is due to the hard work of our teachers and students and the excellent parent support we have in our community. We are keeping the bar high for ourselves and look forward to meeting the challenge.”

The U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools rankings, a comprehensive and respected evaluation of secondary education, use data from nearly 25,000 public high schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This year, nearly 18,000 schools were evaluated based on six (6) criteria, including their performance on state assessments and how well they equip students for higher education. 

Alabama high school students must earn at least 24 credits in various subjects to graduate, including one credit each in career preparedness and physical education. In 11th grade, students take the ACT, according to the Alabama State Department of Education. The exam's English Language Arts, math, and science sections are used as accountability measures. 

The process of calculating the 2023-2024 Best High Schools Rankings was executed in collaboration with RTI International. Below are the categories:

  • College Readiness: Evaluated results in the proportion of 12th graders who not only took but also earned a qualifying score on Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. 

  • State Assessment Proficiency: Evaluated aggregated scores on state assessments, which are often requirements for graduation. 

  • State Assessment Performance: Evaluated state assessment scores, taking into account the proportions of students who are Black, Hispanic, and from low-income households.

  • Underserved Student Performance: Evaluated commitment to equity and excellence by achieving scores among underserved students that meet or exceed typical state averages for non-underserved students.

  • College Curriculum Breadth Index: Evaluated dedication to providing comprehensive education, as evidenced by the proportions of 12th graders who took and earned qualifying scores on AP and IB exams.

  • Graduation Rate: Evaluated graduation rates, reflecting the success of educational programs in guiding students towards successful completion of their high school journey.

Currently, Hoover High School’s population is approximately 2,900 students, and Spain Park High has approximately 1,480 students.

According to the U.S. News and World Report, what sets the highest-ranked U.S. public schools apart in the 2023-2024 Best High Schools rankings is their ability to exceed expectations consistently. U.S. News officials say the schools on the list demonstrate exceptional outcomes in mathematics, reading, and science state assessments. Moreover, they achieved qualifying scores in various college-level examinations and impressive graduation rates. 

HCS Superintendent Dr. Dee O. Fowler said, “Both of our high schools being meticulously selected for this esteemed list by U.S. News and World Report highlights their commitment to excellence and student achievement. This is a testament to the hard work of our students, teachers, support staff, administrators, and the entire Hoover community by committing to making academics the rock in Hoover. We are focused on providing our students with an exceptional education that prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of the future beyond K-12.” 

The recognition of Hoover and Spain Park High Schools as two of the best high schools in Alabama reaffirms Hoover City Schools' commitment to striving for excellence in education. The District remains dedicated to improving and sustaining a culture of academic excellence, innovation, character development, and individual growth. 

Click here for the full article from U.S. News and World Report and the 2023-2024 Best High Schools rankings by state.