Only one school district in eastern Kentucky has more than 50% of its students ready for college or a career.
This is based on the latest No Child Left Behind study. According to the study, 64% of Paintsville Independent High School students are prepared for life after high school.
The school is well-known for its athletic tradition, including state championships in basketball and baseball. But there is also a proud academic tradition.
"It's phenomenal. Anytime we can be ranked that high among our peers, it just tickles us to death to lead that pack," said Paintsville Principal Chuck McClure.
"When you're top ten, top 12 in the state, it's just validates the work we're doing here at paintsville independent," said Paintsville Schools Superintendent Coy Samons.
Principal McClure says one reason for the high percentage is the hard work and high expectations of students and teachers.
"We have study sessions on the weekend for our AP students, and that has helped tremendously," said McClure.
McClure says the smaller classroom sizes at Paintsville High School are a contributing factor to their scores.
"We're at either 14 to one or 15 to one student-to-teacher ratio. Any time you can have small numbers like that, I think that attributes greatly to your success," said McClure.
School officials say the seeds to success are planted at a young age.
"If there is a specific need that a child has in third or fourth grade, we're going to make sure they receive the help that they need so that they don't fall behind at an early age," said Samons.
He says he would like to see all students ready for college, but is proud of the school's rank.
The following is a list of other WYMT-coverage area schools who scored between 40-50% (readiness percentage in parentheses):
Corbin Ind. High School (44%)
Harlan Ind. High School (43%)
Hazard Ind. High School (45%)
Jackson City Ind. High School (45%)
North Laurel High School (41%)
Paintsville Ind. High School (64%)
Pikeville Ind. High School (46%)
Somerset Ind. High School (46%)