Friends’ School received some great news this week. We have been selected as one of the top 50 private elementary schools in the country. The ranking is from TheBestSchools.org website.
I first heard of this achievement a week ago today when I received an email from Monica Roberts at Best Schools saying that the organization had selected Friends’ School “based on several weighted factors, including academic excellence, extracurricular richness, geographical and demographical diversity, and reputation.”
An English cynic at heart (the English, I am told, have a natural tendency towards skepticism), I initially ignored the email. I figured it was one of those Who’s Who-type of websites that was likely fishing for advertising dollars. I went about my weekend and gave it no further thought.
Thankfully, Ms. Roberts had also sent the same email to Meg Hansen, our Director of Communications. Meg saw the email on Monday morning this week and was excited by the honor. If you know Meg, you know she gets excited by all kinds of things that my hardened English heart dismisses. Meg immediately called me and asked if she could post the news on our social media sites.
Not so fast!
I asked her to conduct a whole bunch of research into the Best Schools organization, their reputation and the genuineness of this ranking. If you know Meg, you know she’s one heck of a good researcher too. This is some of what Meg learned:
TheBestSchools.org is primarily a site for higher education news and information for educators, students, and prospective students. Their original specialization was in ranking online degree programs, because many such rankings on the web are dubious and crafted with special interest. They later extended their research and rankings to both private and public K-12 schools. The Best Schools uses university professors and researchers to create what they call “genuinely helpful material.”
The editorial team is comprised of six Ph.D. researchers and a handful of qualified freelance researchers. They commission their primary and secondary school articles to veterans in those fields.
The lead researcher for this private elementary school article was a 30 year veteran K-8 teacher as well as a researcher. She understands how different states measure school successes and considers herself an “information aggregator”. The Best Schools takes information available from state educational departments, and any information from and about schools to start making their ranking lists. They also gather student and teacher reviews, and analyze the environment of schools---how active they are, what are they doing beyond covering essential curriculum, etc.
In other words, they dig and dig, and dig some more.
Some numbers for you:
According to the Council for American Private Education, in 2012 (the latest year for which the facts are available), there were 19, 697 private elementary schools in the U.S. Between us, we enroll close to 4 million students.
A ranking in the top 50 puts Friends’ in the top one quarter of one percent of private elementary schools in the nation (the English are pretty good at math, it turns out!), and we are the only private school in Colorado to make the cut.
We are pretty proud of that fact.
I gave Meg the go-ahead to post the news and we couldn’t be more excited. Here’s a sampling of some comments on Facebook pages where the link has appeared:
“Best investment I ever made. This news is no surprise to those of us fortunate enough to have found Friends' years ago. Now the entire country will know. Well done Friends'!”
“Excellent pick...Congratulations to Steve and the Friends' school team. Amazing school! Glad it calls Boulder home!”
“Wow! Congratulations - no small feat considering the size of the US and number of schools! Brilliant achievement.”
"Always knew it was the best! Well done!"
Thank you to everyone who is a part of this special school – students, teachers, staff, parents, trustees, grandparents and friends. We are glad you are here.