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Bozeman High tops best public schools list for state in new study

Bozeman High was rated #1 public school in the state in a new study by Niche .jpg

Niche, a website that researches schools and workplaces, is ranking Bozeman High School as the #1 public school in the state for 2019.

The newly released study is part of their annual K-12 rankings across the country, where they use ACT scores as well as student and parent surveys as part of their grading.

"They scored very highly across the board, particularly highly in obviously the most prominent factor is academics -- a lot of their other factors like clubs and activities, food and sports were also really strong," said Jessica Hair, media relations coordinator at Niche.

Bozeman Public Schools Superintendent Robert Watson credits hard-working students who are taking more challenging classes, a supportive community and great teachers for the school's success, which he says often lands on top lists.

But even with the high school rating, Watson says there's room for improvement in the lower grades within the district.

A state-level test administered in the spring to grades 3-8, resulted in students at Bozeman Public Schools testing at 64-65% reading proficiency.

"We're looking at how we could encourage or provide more incentives for students to read more during the summer, because when they come back off from summer break it takes them a few more days to get back up to routine and achievement levels," said Watson, who also said they're trying to get students to read earlier.

The superintendent acknowledges test scores are important, but he says they're only one measure of success.

"If you ask a high school student what makes you proud of your school, I doubt that they're going to say test scores," said Watson.

"They're probably going to talk about the activities that are going on at the school, a relationship they've built with the teacher, or a friend," he added.

Niche ranked Choteau High, and Hellgate High in second and third place in their study.

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