Eureka Springs High School ranked among state’s best
By Haley Schichtl
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Eureka Springs High School the 14th best among 269 public high schools in Arkansas.
The rankings are based on schools’ performances in individual categories including college readiness, college curriculum breadth, graduation rate, underserved student performance and math and reading performance and proficiency.
Eureka Springs High School principal David Gilmore said about half of the school’s student population takes at least one Advanced Placement course, which gives them the opportunity to pass the AP exam and get college credit.
“Even in a time like this, our staff is working very hard to make sure students get quality work, not just busy work,” Gilmore said. “Eureka is an ideal place to get a quality education. We have small class sizes, great support from our community, our parents, our school board and superintendent.”
Gilmore said staff is planning for how to get students caught up next school year, since they missed out on in-person instruction for their fourth quarter this year.
“We’re going to really focus on enrichment, and try to do some boot camps and get kids caught up on what they might have missed in the fourth quarter,” Gilmore said. “We’ll look at test data and see where they’re at and try to focus on students who need extra help.”
Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said it’s an honor to be recognized as one of the best out of so many schools.
“We’ve normally cracked the top 10, but what hurt us this time was our graduation rate,” Pruitt said. “We have classes of 35 or 45 kids, so if we have one or two that doesn’t graduate, it brings down our graduation rate.”
But whether in the top 10 or top 20, Eureka Springs is still consistent in ranking near the top.
“I’m not disappointed; I’m still tickled to death,” Pruitt said. “It goes back to having the community here … that is dedicated and do the best that they can do.”
High school counselor Rachal Hyatt said Eureka Springs students get great community support in and out of the classroom.
“It’s a well-rounded team that we have to provide for our students,” Hyatt said. “It’s teachers working together along with support staff and good leadership from administration. We’re provided with great resources.”
Hyatt said the school finds it important to reward students for their hard work and let them know that their efforts are worthwhile.
“Our students work really hard, and I feel like they’re rewarded for their hard work,” Hyatt said. “When you do well in school, it can provide you with the resources you need when you’re out of school.”
She said the school staff always considers students who don’t have internet at home. The school also makes sure that students eat, even if they don’t have food at home.
“If you’re a student that comes to school in the morning, and you haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday at school, the last thing you’re going to be focused on is algebra,” Hyatt said. “We have really great partners that do weekend backpack food, and provide food we can send home at night.”
She said elementary and middle school staff should also be recognized, because they help set the foundation for students’ high school careers.