Blake ranked best private school in Minnesota by Niche


Fiona Duffy

The Upper School still displays, “Northrop Collegiate School,” on its front entrance representative of its history as a top college preparatory school.

Maggie Ankeny, Staff Writer

     This year, our school received an award from Niche, a relatively small website based in Pittsburgh that reports on data about schools and neighborhoods for public knowledge. Blake was awarded the Best Private High School in Minnesota.

     Using the National Center for Education Statistics, and user reviews and rankings, the award was determined by factoring in composite ACT/SAT score, top colleges score, college enrollment, culture and diversity grade. Each category has its own weight, beginning at 30% for test scores and descending to 10%.

Sammi Pohlen ‘20 comments on the award, “I think it’s an honor for us to get there but at the same time I don’t think that grades really reflect on us as a Blake community.”

     Head of School Joe Ruggiero agrees and elaborates, “It’s a nice honor, it’s great to be recognized, but I don’t think it’s reflective of the mission or the school’s philosophy.”

     Pondering the effects of the award on our school, choir teacher Ben Henschel says, “Any award giving a school the ranking of ‘best’ needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Whether or not it compares to other schools and comes out as the ‘best’ is irrelevant compared the more practical matters of education.”

     Ruggiero expands on this idea as well: “I think it correctly captures the strength of our academic program. . . [but] the score isn’t really affecting anything that we’re doing other than being maybe a slight validation, in some ways, of student performance.”

     Upper School Assistant Director Paul Menge, talking on the perspective of someone outside the school community, believes, “If that’s the only thing that people saw about Blake is. . .  award-winning because of these numbers, I think it would really fall short describing who we really are, as this positive, invested, engaged, interactive community. But I think in and of itself, it’s a nice honor.”

     Expanding on the idea of the Blake community, Menge comments, “[Blake is] a really special community where. . . students and faculty really feel valued and really feel part of the process.”