A Reynoldsburg high school landed on Newsweek's 2015 list of 500 Top High Schools, competing against 16,000 schools nationwide to determine which did the best job of preparing students for college.

A Reynoldsburg high school landed on Newsweek's 2015 list of 500 Top High Schools, competing against 16,000 schools nationwide to determine which did the best job of preparing students for college.

Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy was listed at No. 37 on Newsweek's 500 Schools Beating the Odds list, for schools dealing with a large number of economically disadvantaged students. It was No. 456 on the 2015 500 Top High Schools list.

Considering that the top 500 are chosen from 16,000 schools, just getting on a Newsweek list is an accomplishment, Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning said.

"The dedication and commitment of parents, students, teachers and administrators and partners -- all working together to ensure students are academically stretched and sufficiently prepared for the next level, upon graduation -- is what landed eSTEM on the list and what makes eSTEM an outstanding school," she said.

"I don't think I could be any more proud of the hard work that our stakeholders put in," eSTEM Academy Principal Scott Bennett said. "It is exceptionally rewarding to see this hard work recognized once again on a national level."

Based on outstanding student performance on reading and mathematics senior exams and college-level coursework, U.S. News and World Report recognized eSTEM last year on its "bronze medal" list of high schools.

"We have a unique trifecta of talented staff members, amazing families and high-impact partners that work together to create a school that works for our students," Bennett said. "The contributions of each group make this a pretty special place."

The fact that eSTEM Academy has the fourth-highest poverty ranking among the top 500 high schools, with enrollment that comprises 67.6 percent economically disadvantaged students (according to Newsweek), may make the accomplishment even more meaningful, Thomas-Manning said.

"Although we don't work in education for the recognition, it sure feels good to receive a pat on the back for a job well done," she said. "Our staff, students and community all know that eSTEM is an outstanding school, but making the Newsweek list is a wonderful affirmation."

Bennett said he hopes to stay on those national lists, year after year. "We are continuing to work hard to make this an amazing school," he said.

Newsweek has published the Top High Schools list for more than a decade, but last year began publishing the Beating the Odds list to highlight schools "doing an excellent job of preparing their students for college while also overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage," according to its website at newsweek.com.

Other central Ohio schools on the 500 Top High Schools list included No. 88 Dublin Jerome High School; No. 135 Bexley High School; No. 226 Upper Arlington High School; No. 352 New Albany High School; No. 365 Dublin Coffman High School; No. 441 Granville High School and No. 453 Olentangy Liberty High School.