High school students in Juneau attend a chemistry class in 2016. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)

High school students in Juneau attend a chemistry class in 2016. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)

JDHS ranks fourth, TMHS fifth among 64 Alaska high schools in U.S. News and World Report survey

HomeBRIDGE ranks 41st, YDHS not ranked in nationwide assessment of more than 24,000 schools.

Juneau’s two main high schools ranked fourth and fifth out of 64 in Alaska, with the HomeBRIDGE program ranking 41st, in results published this week by U.S. News and World Report.

The rankings come as fourth-ranked Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé is scheduled to absorb the students from fifth-ranked Thunder Mountain High School when the school starts this fall as part of the Juneau School District’s consolidation plan. While declining overall enrollment is cited as one of the reasons for the consolidation, the number of students in the lower-ranked HomeBRIDGE program has increased in recent years.

Out of 17,655 nationwide schools ranked of more than 24,000 assessed, JDHS finished at 2,708, TMHS at 2,946 and HomeBRIDGE at 12,264. The magazine, in an overview of the results, noted magnet and charter schools that may be exempt from some state and local regulations are overrepresented in the rankings.

“All of the top-20 schools this year have either selective enrollment – with requirements often including a minimum GPA, teacher recommendations and an entrance exam – or a lottery system,” the overview notes.

The rankings are based on six criteria including graduation rates, standardized test scores, college curriculum breadth such as Advanced Placement courses, and performance of “underserved” students such as low-income and minorities.

Despite their close finish in the state rankings, JDHS and TMHS showed different characteristics in the magazine’s ranking criteria.

JDHS topped TMHS in students taking at least one Advanced Placement exam (47% for JDHS compared to 39% at TMHS), yet TMHS had 34% of students pass the exam compared to 30% at JDHS. JDHS students scored higher in reading and math proficiency (44% and 36%, respectively, compared to 36% and 23% at TMHS) — but TMHS students prevailed with 58% proficient in science compared to 52% percent at JDHS.

The graduation rate for TMHS was 96% and the school received a 35.6 readiness score, compared to an 89% graduation rate and 34.3 readiness score at JDHS.

Different characteristics of the two schools are one of the prime arguments of residents opposing the consolidation plan. Many of those residents favored keeping both schools open and expanding instruction to grades 7-12 (or 8-12), and could claim a validation of sorts for their proposal from the rankings which placed Cordova Jr/Sr High School, which provides instruction to grades 7-12, at the top of the state rankings.

However, that school had 83 students in grades 9-12 at the time of the survey, compared to more than 550 each at JDHS and TMHS. Juneau School District Superintendent Frank Hauser told school board members at a meeting in March than only 1.4% of Alaska’s schools are for grades 7-12 and they have an average enrollment of 152 students, so establishing two such schools in Juneau that would have an anticipated average of 818 students each next fall would be a “local and statewide experiment.”

Results of the HomeBRIDGE scores are more limited since it had 102 students at the time of the magazine’s rankings. HomeBRIDGE had a 62% graduation rate and 33% reading proficiency rate, with no other categories scored.

The alternative Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School, with a listed enrollment of 69 students and 62% graduation rate, and Johnson Youth Center which provided high school instruction to 13 students were not ranked in the survey.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 15

Here’s what to expect this week.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska faces consequences as federal education funding equity dispute continues

State officials offered feds a $300,000 compromise instead of $17 million adjustment.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
On Juneteenth, Gov. Dunleavy weighs adding a new legal holiday for Alaska

If the governor signs recently passed bill, Juneteenth would be observed as a state holiday in 2025.

Observers from the U.S. Department of Justice examine the accessibility of a polling place in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley during the Aug. 16, 2022, primary election. The Justice Department concluded that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to properly accommodate voters with disabilities. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Disabled Alaskans encountered barriers in recent elections, Justice Department investigation finds

Alaska failed to accommodate people with disabilities who were trying to cast… Continue reading

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign rally at Legends Event Center on Dec. 20, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
Want to run for President in Alaska? You’ll need a few thousand friends.

On Friday, supporters of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. turned in more than… Continue reading

A Juneau Police Department officer talks on a radio in a patrol car. Officials said JPD’s communications system, which had an end-of-life date in 2014, needs to be replaced to provide improvements such as full radio coverage within the city and borough limits. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Voters may be asked to OK $22.75M in bonds to upgrade emergency communications, wastewater treatment

Juneau Assembly will consider two proposed measures, take public comments, at July 1 meeting.

Construction on Egan Drive on Tuesday evening leaves one lane open in each direction. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Fred Meyer intersection gets turn-lane safety upgrades; traffic signal planned by 2026

Project seeking to reduce frequency and severity of crashes includes lower seasonal speed limits

A view of Angoon from a floatplane on Friday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Thayer Creek Hydro project fulfills ‘dream of the elders’

Angoon hydropower groundbreaking comes after four decades of effort, seeks to stabilize future costs

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, June 16, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read