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Oasis, North among nation’s best high schools

By Staff | May 23, 2017

Oasis and North Fort Myers high schools have again been recognized among the nation’s most challenging.

Both schools moved higher on the Washington Post’s annual “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” roster. Oasis High School ranked No. 47, up from No. 64 last year, and North ranked at No. 104, up from No. 108 in 2016.

The schools were among eight from Lee County, two from Cape Coral, to be named in the rankings, which represent about 12 percent of the nation’s schools.

Terry Hall, Oasis High School counselor, said everyone at the city of Cape Coral municipal charter school is thrilled that Oasis has become recognized as a more challenging school, year over year.

“We just move with the students. As our students progress and want to take additional courses we keep adding them,” Hall said.

Hall said there were more students in the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education diploma program as well as additional AP class and dual enrollment, which nudged Oasis up. The school added Global Perspectives the previous year which meant more testing and a higher ranking.

Hall added it’s the students who do the work, so they are to be credited with the accomplishment.

“If they’re not successful, we don’t continue to offer those programs. They have everything to do with it. We attract a very high level student who is competitive and we try to meet their needs,” Hall said.

In a year that has seen discord between the city and its four-school charter system at the administrative and board level of each, at the schools the concentration has remained on students and programs.

“It’s been a positive year in our hallways… We’re a wonderful school with great students. There’s so much good going on here,” Hall said. “You could bring your own child here.”

At North, principal Debbie Diggs said she was happy the ranking went up, though she did want to crack the Top 100.

“You have to be happy anytime you’re making progress. Our school and students continue to be among the rigorous in the nation,” Diggs said. “Not only is the work rigorous, but the kids are doing the work. They have this laser-like focus and some of the country’s best students are coming out of North Fort Myers High School.”

Cape Coral (532) and Mariner (1367) made the list, as did Cypress Lake (1452), South Fort Myers (1456), Riverdale (2032) and Dunbar (2291).

The paper ranks schools through a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates, which puts the school in the rankings.