For the third year in a row, the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences in Asheville ranks as the best high school in the area, according to “U.S. News and World Report.”
“That is huge, and it takes a village,” said SILSA principal Nicole Cush. “Without the assistance of an amazing counselor, social worker and staff, I wouldn’t be able to say this is possible. It takes a village, but the SILSA family makes it happen.”
The report ranks SILSA as 25th in North Carolina. And when compared to nearly 18,000 high schools nationwide, SILSA finishes within the top 1%.
“U.S. News” identifies schools that best serve all students and assesses how prepared they are for college-level work. Selection is based on student performance for state-required tests and Advanced Placement course completion, as well as its four-year cohort graduation rate.
This past year, 92% of SILSA students took at least one AP Exam. And the class of 2020’s graduation rate, which is the last to be officially released from the state, was 98%.
Cush says the students are what she loves best about her school. “I can see their greatness, and that’s what’s just so exciting,” said Cush. “When you look at my past student body president, he’s going to Yale. We also have students going straight into the workforce, some that have started their own business as well as others that have additional plans to accomplish their dreams. Regardless of what their next step is, I know it will be exciting to watch.”
In addition to celebrating her students and staff, congratulations are also due to Cush, who was recently unanimously approved to serve on the North Carolina Public School Forum Advisory Board.
She was nominated by N.C. State Representative Graig Meyer. The pair met through the success of SILSA’s Racial Equity Ambassador Program.
Made up of dynamic leaders from the education, media, legal, medical and business sectors, the Advisory Board brings professionals from across the state together to provide nonpartisan, evidence-based research, policy analysis and innovative programs to support public education throughout N.C.
“My hope is that I will be a voice of change,” said Cush. “It’s exciting to make these connections and have the influence to really ensure teacher voices are heard at the state level.”
Cush is the only educational professional from WNC to serve on the board. She will hold her position for the next two years.