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3 Bellingham high schools named among best in state

Seniors honored, sing anthem at Squalicum High soccer game

Squalicum's senior soccer players sang the national anthem on senior night before the Storm played Meridian on Tuesday, April 26, at Civic Stadium.
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Squalicum's senior soccer players sang the national anthem on senior night before the Storm played Meridian on Tuesday, April 26, at Civic Stadium.

Four high schools in Whatcom County are among the top in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Three of the four high schools in Bellingham made the list, which was published April 19: Squalicum High School at No. 13, Sehome at No. 20 and Bellingham High School at No. 39.

Each school also received a college-readiness score that compares to the statewide average of 22.9. Squalicum’s college-readiness score is 43.2, Sehome’s is 37.5 and Bellingham’s is 29.2.

Meridian High School also made the U.S. News list, coming in at No. 63 in the state. It received a college-readiness score of 21.2.

Other Whatcom County high schools, including Lynden, Nooksack Valley, Blaine, Ferndale and Windward, were included in the list but not given a ranking. The list’s rankings end at No. 65.

Raisbeck Aviation High School, an aviation-themed college-preparatory public school in Tukwila, took the No. 1 spot in the state rankings.

The readiness score, U.S. News said, was based on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data from each school. The maximum college-readiness score a school can receive is 100.

Our drive for student success is intrinsic. It’s not because of a list. If we’re doing things right ... then we’ll still keep coming up on those lists.

Squalicum High School Principal James Everett

The list was compiled partially by using results from the state’s math and reading proficiency tests, as well as each school’s graduation rates, according to U.S. News’ own explanation of its methodology.

Squalicum High School Principal James Everett said he wasn’t surprised about the ranking, adding that the district’s high schools often place fairly high among others in the state. But the list isn’t the whole story, he said, adding that the list’s methodology doesn’t — and can’t — look at every factor that determines student success.

“I understand why states or other entities would use those measures — they’re easily identifiable,” Everett said, referring to state math and reading proficiency tests. “But there’s so much more to the identity and what goes on in support of students and what the staff are doing than just those scores.”

Still, Everett said the schools’ appearance on the list reflect the dedication of district staff.

“Our drive for student success is intrinsic,” he added. “It’s not because of a list. If we’re doing things right ... then we’ll still keep coming up on those lists.”

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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