Lynn English is going to have to build a new trophy case, and the awards inside of it will have nothing to do with sports.
Although the high school is well known for its successes in the realms of competitive sports over the years, more recently Lynn English has been basking in the limelight of distinguished academic awards.
Late last week it was announced that Lynn English was selected by U.S. News & World Report – the foremost media evaluator of schools and universities – as one of the best high schools in Massachusetts.
The school was classified as a bronze award recipient with 15 other schools in the state. English shared the spotlight with other bronze winners such as Revere High School, Somerville High School, Greenfield High School and Hopkins Academy – and actually rated higher that Weston High School in the posh western suburbs.
Surprisingly, it’s not the first time the school has been recognized.
"This is the third year we’ve been selected for that based on academic performance," said Principal Andy Fila. "We’re the only school in Lynn this year. There were 1,189 schools in the U.S. selected and we were one of them. We’re very proud of that."
Though the greater Lynn community may be unaware of it, English has been stacking up academic awards for the past year or two.
Last year, they were the winner of the Intel School of Distinction award for excelling in mathematics instruction.
That award came with a $10,000 award and a prize package for the school worth more than $100,000.
Meanwhile, also last school year, English was named the best low-income school in Massachusetts by Business Week publications.
At the same time, in the last 10 years since Fila took the helm, the student population has increased from 1,140 students to 1,760. Of those students, some 75 percent are classified as being from low-income families – which creates even more barriers towards successful education.
The U.S. News & World Report designation based the awards on a weighted scale that considered low-income and minority populations.
"I’m not shy about telling how well things are going here and they are going well," said Fila. "Maybe the staff appreciates this award more than the kids. It’s a pat on the back. They’re working hard, 180 days. We seem to get more recognition nationally than locally. That’s okay though. We’re not a one-night stand and I’m looking forward to another productive 10 years."
Fila said that English has improved steadily, not erratically, every year and that has been the factor that has turned heads.
"Our performance is consistent and steady; our discipline is consistent and steady," he said. "That’s how things have to work. You can’t have ups and downs, peaks and valleys."
Likewise, Fila credits a rigorous expectation of student conduct, behavior and discipline as a driving force in increases academic achievement.
"It runs the school," he said. "You can’t have poor behavior amongst students and have a good school…Before school, you’ll see 16 to 18 teachers outside as the kids come in, rain or shine. You’ll see 100 or more teachers in the hallways between classes. After school, you’ll see 16 to 18 teachers outside again as the kids leave school."
Of the schools designated in Massachusetts, two were listed as Gold Medal Schools, 19 were silver medal schools, 16 were bronze medal schools and four were honorable mention.
The two gold medal schools were Boston Latin School and The Bromfield School in Harvard.