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National publication recognizes Libby HS with high honor

by Brandon Roberts & Western News
| January 21, 2009 11:00 PM

Libby Public Schools has another feather in its hat.

Those are the words of principal Rik Rewerts in response to the recent bronze medal awarded to Libby High School last month by U.S. News and World Report.

He emphasized that the recognition is not an LHS award, but a district honor.

“Everyone was a part of it,” Rewerts said. “We didn’t fix these kids in a year. It is the whole district doing their job.”

The report analyzed 21,069 public schools in 48 states utilizing 2006-07 data.

The methodology report by Robert Morse states, “a great high school must serve all its students well … and must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show that the school is successfully educating its student body.”

LHS was the only Class A school in Montana to receive the honor. No Class AA schools received a medal.

Rewerts said proactive policy implementations kept Libby “ahead of the ballgame.”

Schools were evaluated on three criteria: standardized test performance, proficiency rates of all students and college prep curriculum.

In all, 19 Montana high schools received a bronze medal, which meant the school met the first two criteria.

The recognition has motivated Rewerts to shoot for silver or gold in the next report and become the first Montana school ever to achieve that award.

College prep classes – which represent the third criteria – are known as advanced placement and the semester exam is associated with a fee normally around $80. If successful, a student passing an AP course will receive college credit and walk onto campus with many basics already covered.

“Can we get there? Can we promote it?” Rewerts rhetorically asked and answered. “Yes we can.

“There is such success because of our expectations on students,” he added. “The work is challenging but it is happening.”