Biglerville High School was recently named among the top 40% of high schools in the country and also ranked highly among Pennsylvania schools.
Biglerville stands at No. 3,321 out of nearly 18,000 high schools in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings for 2023-2024. Within the state, the school stands at No. 133 out of 750, according to a news release from Upper Adams School District that cited the report.
Principal Beth Graham expressed her pride at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“I’m very proud of our teachers, of our community,” Graham said. “I think it speaks to our dedication to academic excellence and providing a quality education for our kids.”
The rankings are based on several factors, including performance on state assessments and how well schools prepare students for college, according to the U.S. News & World Report website.
Key statistics included:
• 29% of Biglerville High School students took at least one Advanced Placement exam, of which 23% of students passed at least one exam.
• 69% of students are proficient in math.
• 77% of students are proficient in science.
• 78% of students are proficient in reading.
• The school boasts an 88% graduation rate.
In the news release, Upper Adams School District highlighted the “rich cultural” environment and diversity at the high school, which has a 34% minority enrollment. The district also expressed pride in serving students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, who make up 34% of the high school population.
The school board and Superintendent Wesley Doll lauded Graham and her staff for their efforts.
Vice President Tom Wilson said the community at large should take great pride in this accomplishment.
“It’s very impressive, very impressive indeed,” he said.
Graham turned to the other principals in the room and said the achievement was a group effort.
“This isn’t something that just happens when they get into high school,” Graham said, the path to success begins with “that first day of kindergarten.”
Graham said she learned of the ranking via email Sept. 5. She said the high school was ranked highly in the past, though she could not recall exactly when.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition, which speaks to the hard work and commitment of our faculty, staff, and administration, as well as the dedication of our students and families to continued academic success,” Doll said in the release.
Eighteen newly hired staff who will build upon that success were introduced to the school board. They include teachers at the elementary, intermediate, middle, and high schools. Their roles span the subjects of English language arts, science, math, social studies, special education, Spanish, and more.
Among the new hires is social worker who will serve the entire district.
In other business, Doll said the locker and team room renovation at the secondary campus is on target to be complete in December.
The price tag on the estimated $2.4 million project went up slightly Tuesday. The board approved a change order of approximately $9,700 for the demolition of flooring and concrete bases around lockers. Wilson said these areas had been overlooked previously in the original general construction contract.
The board Tuesday also voted to establish a fund to pay its portion toward the renovation of the Cumberland-Perry Area Vocational Technical School.
School districts that send students to Cumberland-Perry for educational training, including Upper Adams, are contributing funding toward the project. Doll previously said how much each district owes is based on a formula that includes the number of students each district sends to the tech school.
The district will transfer approximately $787,400 from its assigned debt fund to the Cumberland-Perry renovation fund. The money is expected to be withdrawn in two 50% payments around July 15 and Nov. 1, 2024.
Board member Chris Fee was absent Tuesday.
The school board will next meet Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. for curriculum, extra-curricular, and business and operations committee meetings. The policy committee will meet Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. The next regular board meeting is Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Mary Grace Kauffman, freelance reporter, worked six years as a full-time reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has covered topics including business, crime, education, government and features. Mary Grace has a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism from Shippensburg University. She resides in Adams County.