According to a U.S. News release on the results, the online magazine worked with the American Institutes for Research, a D.C.-based organization, to evaluate schools on overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.
Principal Dr. Wanda Stringer said she is proud of this achievement.
"This marks the fourth consecutive time that we have been given this designation and we are extremely happy and excited about that. I describe this latest achievement as being unprecedented because we are the only school in the Delta to have been named four consecutive times," said Stringer.
Performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams was used to determine the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.
U.S. News collected data on more than 21,000 public high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia.
The comprehensive rankings methodology is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.
"We have received this recognition back-to-back to back-to-back and I am so proud of the staff and the students. They have worked really hard to earn this honor and it is just unusual," said Stringer.
JFK was one of 77 schools in the state of Mississippi recognized in the bronze medal category.
Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Lynn House released this statement to U.S. News, "The Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Board of Education congratulate these schools on this prominent recognition. We know a lot of hard work takes place in classrooms across our state, and this national honor validates the commitment of the communities, teachers, students and administrators who are responsible for their success."
Schools were ranked within each state, as well as on a national stage, so families can see how their public high school stacked up against rivals within the community and across the country.
In the national rankings, 500 schools earned gold medals, 1,790 were awarded silver and 2,515 took home bronze.
"At JFK we try to make excellence a habit. We try to encourage our students do their best and we do not accept excuses such as low socioeconomic status – we don’t buy into that. We believe that our students can achieve and reach their highest potential. It does not matter where they come from or who they are, they all have the potential to achieve," she added.
Stringer said she attributes the success of JFK to several factors.
"We encourage and insist that our teachers do their very best to encourage excellence. Our teachers and students work hard everyday and our community is actively involved. We try to get the best resources for our children," said Stringer.
"We also bring in consultants to assist us with achieving greatness," she continued.
Stinger said she has some of the best teachers in the state and when she recruits them, she looks for specific qualifications.
"We are surrounded by individuals who stand firm on education and excellence. When I recruit teachers, I look for the very best. I look for individuals who are student centered and have the capability, content knowledge and the stamina to fight the good fight," she added.
"I am grateful to God for this opportunity, he continues to bless us. We have had tremendous accomplishments with our academics, sports and all of this goes together to make us one of America's best high schools. To God be the glory and I thank everyone who has been involved during our road to success," said Stringer.