Farragut High in state’s top ten

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

U.S. News & World Report once again confirmed what Farragut parents have known for some time – Farragut High School isn’t just one of the best public schools in the county, it’s one of the best in the state.

The media company’s list of Tennessee’s top public high schools was released last week, and Farragut High School is ranked 10th. The only other Knox County school in the top ten is L&N Stem Academy, which is ranked 8th. FHS was ranked 12th and L&N Stem was ranked 9th in 2021.

U.S. News & World Report is well-known for its annual lists of rankings. Its Best High Schools rankings are based on student outcomes in math, reading and science state assessments, earned qualifying scores in an array of college-level exams and graduation rates.

FHS Principal John Bartlett is pleased that the ranking recognizes the hard work of teachers and students, but such accolades are not the goal, he says. Helping each student to be their best is the primary work of the school.

One of the reasons FHS students perform well is the excellent schools they attend before they get to the high school, he says.

“Our kids are bright, but they also have an advantage. Our approach to academics is a system thing that goes all the way down to Farragut Primary.”

Another feather in the school’s cap is this year’s 16 National Merit Finalists. Half of the county’s National Merit Finalists attend FHS, including those who attend private schools. Putting bright kids with the right teachers creates that kind of magic, Bartlett says.

In spite of the school’s public successes, he acknowledges that FHS students and their families have been profoundly affected by Covid. During the pandemic, some kids didn’t come to school and didn’t do well with online learning, he says. Many got behind and are still struggling. One consequence is a lower-than-usual graduation rate at FHS. He estimates it will be around 95 percent this year, while he would prefer 100 percent.

Bartlett spent 10 years as principal at Bearden High School before moving to his post at FHS three years ago. One of his primary objectives has been to create a culture that ensures that every student is known, valued and cared about. When he first arrived, he spent a lot of time talking to students about self-care, like getting enough sleep and taking care of their brains. Students are now getting that message before they get to the high school, so he feels like the community is making progress.

“Now, we’re in a good spot. But that doesn’t mean kids don’t struggle.”

Our schools are one of the primary reasons new residents choose Farragut, and it is a source of pride for the entire community when they are recognized outside of East Tennessee. Our hard-working teachers and administrators should all be proud that Farragut High School is ranked in the top ten public schools in the state. It’s an accomplishment for the high school as well as its feeder schools. Congrats!

Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

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