RBHS ranks ninth best school in Missouri


U.S. News and World ranked RBHS as the ninth best school in the state of Missouri.

Alyssa Sykuta

U.S. News and World ranked RBHS as the ninth best school in the state of Missouri.
U.S. News and World ranked RBHS as the ninth best school in the state of Missouri. Photo by Jake Alden
[dropcap style=”2″ size=”3″]A[/dropcap]According to a report released yesterday from U.S. News and World, the students and faculty of RBHS can boast themselves as belonging to the ninth best school in the state of Missouri. The school rankings, the website says, are “based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college and other factors.” Though the website has included RBHS as one of the ranked schools in the past, this is the highest the Bruins have ever placed.
“I think it’s great. I’m just looking at it for the first time for RBHS to be ranked ninth in the state out of 142 high schools, that’s awesome,” guidance counselor Jane Piester said.  “I would rank us first. … Those other eight schools must be pretty awesome schools to be above us.”
RBHS is outranked mainly by schools in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Though English teacher Debbie McDonough is unsure of exactly what criteria the publication uses to judge the nation and states’ schools, she is proud of how RBHS is recognized nationwide. However, without the personal opportunity to be a part of the school, McDonough doesn’t think one can fully comprehend the RBHS experience and put it on a scale.
“I know that what [the judges] are not using this year is that they are not using a firsthand personal account of being in Rock Bridge and seeing how the school works. They aren’t able to see the respect that’s given to both students and teachers, the hours of work that’s put in by teachers and students alike to always be at their optimal level of learning and or teaching, that we welcome change, and we insist upon looking at different ways to make learning engaging,” McDonough said. “I believe that Rock Bridge works truly as a community between administration, amongst teachers and students. I think that’s rare to find in high schools today.”
McDonough also believes the whole transition from a three to a four-year high school system has allowed RBHS’ true student-faculty-community relationships to shine and grow;  all of the changes discussed this year, from open lunch to start times, have incorporated input from parents, students and teachers, and McDonough thinks that is something special.
“I think you saw the administration, I think you saw faculty members who are both teachers and parents, and you saw students advocating for what they think will work best,” McDonough said. “And I think that is absolutely a rarity in a lot of the school systems that people come together to work out what is best for everyone. And everyone feels they have input. … We’re not afraid to try something different, and we’re also not afraid to say, if something’s not working, how do we go about fixing it and making it better?”
Along with the bonds between students and faculty at RBHS, the philosophy of “freedom with responsibility” preached is something junior Hannah Sage thinks makes the school unique. Having attended many different schools after moving several times, Sage said it’s the trust and respect teachers have for their students that makes the three years of being a Bruin different than the rest of the grade school years.

RBHS is “a pretty good school, especially compared to other ones I’ve been to,” Sage said. “I move a lot, so I’ve been to lots and lots of schools. The ‘freedom with responsibility’ thing I haven’t encountered at any other schools, and I think that’s really cool.”

For principal Mark Maus, too, it’s the trust factor between students and faculty that allows RBHS students to perform at a higher level, whether it be in academics, athletics or extracurricular activities. Though RBHS may not be the number one school in the state, Maus knows the students and teachers of the Bruin community push each other to become better every day.
“I think the secret at Rock Bridge is the relationships between our teachers and students. We have great teachers who have very high expectations, and we have great students that, because of that relationship, they meet those expectations,” Maus said. “And then I just know that when you treat kids well and you trust them, they make great decisions and they do great things.”
By Alyssa Sykuta
Additional reporting by Adam Schoelz and Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj