Highland News Leader

HHS makes top 100 schools in Illinois second year in a row

Students walk out of Highland High School, located at 12760 Troxler Ave.
Students walk out of Highland High School, located at 12760 Troxler Ave. mbraa@bnd.com

For the second year in a row, Highland High School has been ranked in the top 100 schools in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report.

"Not bragging, but no other high school in Madison County can say that," HHS Principal Dr. Karen Gauen said in an email to her teachers.

The school, received a Bronze Medal Award in the recent 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools, which was released May 9. Using government data, the report ranks more than 20,500 public high schools nationwide in an attempt to to identify schools that best serve all of their students, and assess how college ready kids are after graduating. Highland was ranked No. 91 out of Illinois high schools.

Other area schools that received the Bronze Medal include Mascoutah High School, No. 76; Columbia High School, No. 78; and Belleville High School-West, No. 79. No other metro-east schools made the list.

Last year, no other school in Madison or St. Clair County was ranked ahead of HHS. The only other school from the area to make the list last year was Belleville West High School, ranked at No. 100.

Gauen, who has taught in three states, said that she believes the school's teachers and parents helped drive this accomplishment.

"We work as a school community to improve how lessons are taught and how our kids learn," Gauen said.

A lot to do with the school's environment, she said.

"We also work hard to have a positive climate where kids and teachers are encouraged and appreciated," she said.

In addition, Gauen said that each of the school's classrooms has incorporated a "Grit and Growth Mindset." This is used to help teach the students by avoiding a fixed mindset and encouraging success through effort.

"I'm humbled to work with such a great staff," Gauen said.