Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts – Newsweek – 13/100

Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts – Newsweek – 13/100


The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA) is a two-year, public residential high school located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is a part of the University of Arkansas administrative system and a member of the NCSSSMST.[2] The school was originally known as The Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences (abbreviated ASMS). The school is accredited by AdvancED.[3]

School Description

Academically, the school is modeled after the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Studies focus on mathematics, computer science, science, and humanities, the largest department at the school. All courses are taught at the Honors level or above. ASMSA also offers a number of AP-level courses and courses that go beyond the AP level, especially in mathematics. ASMSA has an arts program, which was recently added by the state legislature. However, the state legislature neglected to fund the project, so the arts program at the moment is little more than a formality.

The school was created in 1991[4] with backing from then-Governor Bill Clinton. The charter class enrolled as juniors in 1993 and graduated in 1995.

Prospective students apply during the spring of their sophomore year and submit application forms, grade transcripts, SAT or ACT results, and three letters of recommendation. Generally, students can only enter the school as a rising junior, although there have been cases where a student from another state magnet school transferred to ASMSA. Additionally, some students will repeat their junior year of high school at ASMSA because they didn’t apply in time to be admitted with their regular class.

Students who attend ASMSA live in a dormitory away from their homes. The dormitory is not co-ed, and there is no co-mingling outside of designated co-ed areas. The students are supervised by full-time Residential Mentors. The school itself is located in the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in the historic district of Hot Springs, and it is surrounded on three sides by the Hot Springs National Park. The school’s mascot is the dolphin. The dolphin was chosen because of the school’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

Teachers have at least a master’s degree in their field, and 45% have a Ph.D.[5] Notable professors at the school have included Dr. Don Baker, who was a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State; Mrs. Melanie Nichols, who has served on several AP committees and has been active in the math education community, was a mathematics teacher at the school before becoming Dean of Academic Affairs in 2006; Dr. Brian Monson, who has previously taught at the University of Tulsa and the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, is chair of the science department and teaches AP Physics C, Optics, and Folk Music and Acoustics, and plays the harmonica and the mandolin; and Charlie Cole Chaffin, who was a chemistry teacher at the school, was a member of the Arkansas State Senate.

Several former and current professors at the school also instruct during the summer at the Arkansas Governor’s School. The current director of the school is Corey Alderdice[6]

Local Map


City: Hot Springs
State: AR
School Classification: M, S
GRAD RATE(%): 100
AVG SAT: 1779
AVG ACT: 26.7