Newsweek Cites 23 High Schools Among Best in U.S.

May 9, 2005
Twenty-three public high schools in Montgomery County have been recognized by Newsweek magazine as among the best in America for offering a challenging instructional program, marked by the high number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.

Newsweek used the “Challenge Index,” which has been featured for the past several years in The Washington Post, as a way to measure the rigor of a high school academic program. The index is derived from the number of AP or IB tests taken by all students at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.

“The Newsweek rankings confirm what our parents and what our community already know--that high school students in Montgomery County attend some of the best high schools in America,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “Our outstanding teachers and staff challenge our students with a rigorous, high-quality curriculum that prepares them well for life in college and beyond.”

The Newsweek list, which includes all 23 Montgomery County high schools with a Grade 12 class in 2004, places the schools in the top 3 percent of the nation's 27,468 high schools. Montgomery County had the largest number of high schools in the top 100 schools of any district in America--two schools are in the top 20 and five are in the top 80. The school district, along with Fairfax County, Virginia, has more schools on the entire list than any other jurisdiction.

“We are extremely proud of our students and our schools for leading the nation in academic achievement,” said Montgomery County Board of Education President Patricia B. O'Neill. “Over the last five years, we have made extraordinary strides in fostering a challenging learning environment where all our students can thrive.”

MCPS has all but one of the six Maryland schools in the Top 100 and half of the 48 schools in the state listed in the top 800 by Newsweek.

“Having all of our eligible high schools in the top three percent in the nation is a testament to the academic reforms we have implemented over the last five years as well as the dedication of our parents and our staff to ensuring that every student has the best possible opportunity to achieve,” said Dr. Weast.

The Newsweek rankings and recognition are the latest in a string of achievements for MCPS students:

Ø Highest average SAT score (1102) in the history of MCPS and the state of Maryland with the greatest number of seniors ever to take the test.

Ø MCPS high school students achieved some of the best results in the nation on the 2004 AP exams with 39 percent of seniors scoring a 3 or better on these rigorous tests--three times the national average of 13 percent. African American and Hispanic student achievement on AP tests increased by more than 111 percent since 2000.

Ø MCPS students, representing just 17 percent of the state's high school enrollment, accounted for 62 percent of all AP test takers in Maryland and 75 percent of all of the students in the state who scored a 3 or better on the exam. Maryland is second only to New York in AP achievement.

Ø Three high schools named among the best 29 in the nation for prestigious college placements of their graduates, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ø Winner of the U.S. Senate Productivity Award in Maryland--the state's highest honor for organizational performance excellence.

Ø More students completing Algebra by 8th grade.

Ø 29 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

Ø 3rd grade students posted highest results ever on the Maryland School Assessments.

Ø 2nd grade students are among the highest achieving students in the nation on the CTBS.

Ø Record numbers of students reading in kindergarten.

Newsweek's Rankings of Montgomery County Schools Among the Top U.S. High Schools

Rank High School
11 Richard Montgomery
17 Thomas Wootton
29 Bethesda-Chevy Chase
71 Winston Churchill
80 Walter Johnson
107 Walt Whitman
154 Montgomery Blair
175 Springbrook
286 Rockville
314 Quince Orchard
318 Albert Einstein
354 James Hubert Blake
396 Col. Zadok Magruder
416 Paint Branch
443 Sherwood
445 Northwest
495 Wheaton
553 Poolesville
633 Damascus
658 John F. Kennedy
714 Watkins Mill
733 Seneca Valley
785 Gaithersburg

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