Six Northwest Arkansas high schools are among the 10 best in the state, and one of them ranks among the nation’s top schools.
U.S. News & World Report put Haas Hall Academy at No. 50 on its list of the nation’s Best High Schools. It ranked higher than every school in adjoining states Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. Texas had eight Top 50 schools.
For the seventh consecutive year, Haas Hall held Arkansas' highest ranking.
“Haas Hall Academy’s mission and vision are unique in the topography of educational options in Northwest Arkansas because of our educational niche: an accelerated college-preparatory program,” said Marty Schoppmeyer, Haas Hall’s founder and superintendent. “As an open-enrollment, public charter school, there is no fee to attend, and one is not limited by their geographic zip code in selecting our nationally acclaimed program.”
The magazine put five other Northwest Arkansas schools in the state’s Top 10. They were No. 4 Prairie Grove, No. 5, Bentonville, No. 6 Rogers High School, No. 8 Arkansas Arts Academy and No. 9 Fayetteville High School.
Northwest Arkansas schools are traditionally the strongest performers in the state. The University of Arkansas' Office for Education Policy's Northwest Arkansas Education Report Card, last published in 2017, provides information about all the region's school districts and the overall performance of the region's nearly 85,000 students.
U.S. News looked at several factors to determine the top schools. Students’ performance in state reading and mathematics assessments, the performance of historically underserved students, high school graduation rates and college readiness were among those factors, the magazine indicated.
The Haas Hall recognition is for the Fayetteville campus based on the 2015-16 academic year. While Haas Hall now has additional campuses in Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale, those campuses were either too new or didn’t have enough students to be eligible for the U.S. News & World Report ranking.
All four campuses have far more students today, said Kelly Barnett, Haas Hall’s executive director of academy admissions and communications. Fayetteville's campus has 360 students. The Bentonville campus, which opened in August 2015, includes 299. The smallest are the campuses in Rogers (163 students) and Springdale (152), which both opened in Augusts 2017, Barnett said.