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MUHS ranked among state’s best high schools

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On the cusp of his departure as Mingus Union High School District superintendent, Paul Tighe has received some good news: For the third year in a row, Mingus Union High School has been included in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of America’s Best High Schools.Ashly Lawler’s freshman English class quietly reads chapter 20 of Homer’s “The Odyssey.” The class is working on Homeric similes and the “Heroes Journey” theme. For the third year in a row, Mingus Union High School has been included in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of America’s Best High Schools, placing in the top 30 percent of schools nationwide.


The bronze award, based on student performance on state assessments and how well schools prepare students for post-secondary education, places Mingus among the top 30 percent of all schools in the nation. According to the American Institute for Research, which partnered with U.S. News & World Report, the methodology used to rank schools ensures that awarded facilities are successfully educating students of all performance levels, abilities and goals.

“This analysis of nearly 30,000 public high schools across the country found that Mingus students performed better than statistically expected, including the performance of its economically disadvantaged and minority students, and that Mingus’ students performed well on advanced placement indicators,” Tighe stated, adding that this year’s methodology was expanded to include graduation rate requirements.

“U.S. News & World Report looks at student demographics and predicts performance based on national data and tries to come up with a predicted performance level,” Tighe explained. “In schools where student performance exceeds those predicted levels, higher points are earned in their evaluation. Having high expectations for all students and interventions for those struggling help ensure that all students make academic progress.

“This clearly demonstrates how a small community in rural Arizona can provide a high quality education despite having less funding and resources than in any other state in the nation.”

Tighe, who will leave his position as superintendent June 30, stated that there are many initiatives he is proud to have contributed to. One of the most prominent was instituting the education advocacy group WestEd’s research-based instructional practices protocol, which according to Tighe included “considerable professional development for teachers and regular feedback on instructional practices has significantly impacted achievement.”

In addition, Tighe stated that the implementation of the Kids at Hope ideology, based on a belief that all children are capable of success, has positively impacted the culture of the school.

“Mingus will always be special to me,” Tighe added. “I’m committed to supporting its success long after my departure. The MUHSD board has agreed to retain me in a consulting capacity for the 2016-17 fiscal year, so I will be a resource to help support the successful transition of leadership and to serve as a resource for my replacement. He or she will need to build on the
established successes rather than look to make dramatic changes.

“I learn something new every day. I’m sure I’ve gained more skills and strengths from my experiences at Mingus than I could overtly realize. It’s an incredible district in a wonderful community with amazing students and staff. I’m going to miss it.”

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