When is it acceptable to yell, “We’re number six!”?

When you’re ranked as the sixth-best school in the state of Connecticut according to U.S News and World Report.

The magazine released its annual review of 21,035 public high schools in the country. School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas, was determined to be top school in the country.

Closer to home, 196 high schools were analyzed in Connecticut, as U.S. News and World Report teamed with the American Institute for Research to produce the results.

A statement on the U.S. News and World Report website said the research “is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

Among those indicators was to determine if students had exceeded statistical state averages, if minority and low-income students were exceeding state averages for similar students, and which schools produced the highest “college-level” readiness. Student-to-teacher ratio was also examined.

The rankings were then produced, with college-ready schools in the top 500 receiving gold medals.

Which is where Wilton High School comes in.

While Wilton did not win the title of top school in Connecticut or Fairfield County, it did place sixth in the state, and 292 in the country. The school scored 54.7 out of a possible 100 on the college readiness index, and 4.3 out of a possible 5 on both math and reading proficiency.

Darien High School was the top Connecticut school, which put it at 217 nationwide. Other locals scoring well were Weston (No. 3 in Connecticut), Ridgefield (No. 4), Staples (No. 7), and Joel Barlow (No. 9).

While coming in at 292 in the country might not seem impressive, Wilton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Richards put it into perspective.

“That’s in the top 2% of high schools in the United States,” Dr. Richards said. “Those 2% received gold medals, 7% were awarded silver medals. Eighteen percent received bronze medals. Seventy-eight percent didn’t receive anything.

“We’re really pleased by this recognition for the high school. We attribute it to the success of the quality of our programs and the quality of our staff, and our really highly motivated students. This is also a tribute to the community that has provided strong support for our schools.”

At the time of the collection of the data, Wilton had 1,277 students with 91 teachers for a ratio of 14:1. According to the data found on the website (usnews.com), the school breaks down with 51% of the student base being male and a minority enrollment of 9%. Two percent were considered economically disadvantaged.

In the breakdown of reading proficiency, 49% of Wilton students who took the Connecticut Academic Performance Test were considered advanced, which is the highest ranking, above goal, proficient, basic, and below basic. A total of 315 Wilton students took the test.

As for math proficiency, based on the same test, 53% of the 315 students who took the test were advanced.

Connecticut utilizes the Advanced Placement test to assess college readiness. Wilton High School had 59% of its students participate in the test, with 91% passing the exam.

Dr. Richards said caution should be used when assessing the data.

“As we consider this ranking, we need to be mindful that the criteria for recognition are based on results from a limited range of measures. While this is important, there are many measures that determine the quality of a high school.

“While we take pride in this, we continue to look at finding ways to improve and provide meaningful opportunities for preparing students for happy and productive lives in the 21st Century.”

“It’s nice to see Wilton once again being recognized, not only in the state but nationally for the caliber of our school district,” said Board of Education Chairman Bruce Likly. “It’s really a testament to the amount of support we receive from our community, and the hard work and diligence from all.”