Hadley’s Chinese immersion charter ranked No. 2 high school in state

  • Kathleen Wang, the principal at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, stands on a play structure with the school in the background. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, May 03, 2021

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley is the second-best high school in Massachusetts, according to a survey published Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report.

The charter school’s ranking, based on a combination of students excelling at state tests, doing well on various college-level exams and graduating at high rates, placed it sixth among all charter schools in the nation, and 40th among all schools in the country, in the magazine’s 2021 Best High Schools rankings.

The school received a score of 99.78 out of a possible 100, being beaten out for the top state spot by Boston Latin School.

Executive Director Richard Alcorn said the school is an integrated regional magnet school offering the International Baccalaureate for All to juniors and seniors and, in addition to regular academics, aims to foster the ability for students to comfortably navigate diverse cultures and perspectives with understanding.

“We owe our success to a great team of teachers and staff who have worked diligently to build our school,” Alcorn said.

U.S. News’ write-up for the charter school observes that “students have the opportunity to take International Baccalaureate coursework and exams.” It also credits the school with nearly half the students enrolled, or 48%, being minorities.

An article accompanying the state-by-state lists observes that graduating from high school sets the stage for college and career options, and additional lifetime earnings, meaning that graduation rates and college readiness are both key metrics. The charter school had a 94% graduation rate and scored a 95.3 out of a possible 100 on the college readiness score.

The magazine used state education data from the 2018-2019 school year for its methodology. Additional data was provided by the College Board and International Baccalaureate for their college preparatory programs, Advanced Placement and IB.

The six areas covered by the rankings are college readiness and college curriculum breadth, both calculated by the proportion of seniors who took and earned a qualifying score in Advanced Placement International Baccalaureate exams; graduation rate; math and reading proficiency; math and reading performance; and underserved student performance. For math and reading performance, the charter school ranked first in Massachusetts and tied for first in the country.

A total of 17,857 public high schools were ranked by U.S. News.

The top school, with an overall score of 100, is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia.

Other local schools ranked in the top 100 in Massachusetts include Hopkins Academy in Hadley, Smith Academy in Hatfield, Northampton High, Frontier Regional in South Deerfield and South Hadley High.