Citrus schools shine in rankings Julie Gorham / Citrus Chronicle

Citrus County high schools once again have been rated among the top schools in the nation.

That, according to two annual rankings of the nation’s secondary schools published last Friday: The Washington Post’s list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, and U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best High Schools in the U.S.

The publications calculate the rankings based on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests administered at the schools, as well as graduation rates, math and reading proficiency percentages, and college readiness, although each uses its own equation.

All three high schools in Citrus County are included in the Post’s 2017 America’s Most Challenging High Schools list.

“Not only did all three high schools rank, but they also improved by a lot of points,” Director of Research & Accountability Amy Crowell said, referring to Citrus High School in Inverness, Lecanto High School and Crystal River High School. “This means we are offering more opportunities for our students in accelerated academics.”

Lecanto High School continues to land among the top performers, ranking at 599 out of 2,232 awarded schools on the Post’s list, while ranking 1,423 out of 28,561 U.S. high Schools on the U.S. News & World Report’s list.

“One thing I would like to point out is that Lecanto ranks higher because of the IB program, while Citrus and Crystal River are based on Advanced Placement courses,” Crowell continued. “It is great news. There is a lot of research showing if a student takes an AP course — even if they don’t pass the AP test — those students are more successful in college because of the experience in rigorous courses.”

On the Post’s list, Crystal River High School was ranked at 1,341 — making a jump of 335 points from last year; and, Citrus High School was ranked at 1,515, with an increase of 646 points.

Neither of those two schools made the U.S. News & World Report list this year.

“I am honored to serve for such an outstanding school district,” Superintendent of Schools Sandra “Sam” Himmel said in a news release. “Citrus County schools consistently work to provide the most rigorous curriculum and learning opportunities for all our students. This prestigious recognition is a testament to the continued combined efforts of our elementary and secondary school teams.”

For more information on the rankings or to see the full lists, visit for the Washinton Post or for U.S. News & World Report.

Contact Chronicle reporter Julie Gorham at 352-563-3236 or

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