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Pennsylvania company ranks two local school systems in Alabama’s top 25

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Two school systems in Calhoun County are ranked among the top 25 in the state for 2022, according to the ranking service Niche, a private company based in Pittsburgh, Pa., that gathers data from an assortment of public sources and also employs surveys for the stated purpose of helping students and families find the best school.

Formerly, the company was called College Prowler, and more information about the company is available at niche.com 

The Alabama Report Card, the state’s own secondary school ranking service, has not released its reviews since 2019-2020 school year on account on the effects of COVID on public education. 

Niche ranked Oxford City Schools, with 4,265 students, and Jacksonville City Schools, with 1,638, 15th and 21st, respectively.

The Niche rankings are based on reviews submitted by students and parents, data from the U.S. Department of Education, test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT and ACT scores and teacher quality, according to a company press release.

“We are delighted that the efforts of our students, faculty and staff have been recognized,” said Mike Newell, superintendent of the Jacksonville City Schools. 

“This is an accomplishment for us because we were twenty-fifth last year and are now 21st. Our goal is to continually get better and keep working until we are at the top of the list.  We are working in a lot of different areas to offer a quality of education for the students in Jacksonville.”

The recollection of Oxford City School Superintendent Jeff Goodwin is that the system moved up to about No. 17 during 2020-21, the school year when the pandemic shut schools down. He is especially happy to learn that Oxford’s schools had moved up to the 15 spot.

“As with anything, it is a team effort,” Goodwin said, “and I commend our students, our teachers and our staff at every school, and those who serve the district. They have put forth, not only this year but every year, the effort to give our children the best education in the safest environment possible. We could not do this without the support from our city, the leadership of our school board, the hard work of our district administrators, the building-level administration (principals), support personnel and most, importantly the teachers in the classroom every day doing incredible work with our children.”