MCPS High Schools Ranked Among Top 100 in Nation

May 18, 2008
Newsweek Ranks Six MCPS High Schools in the Top 100 in the Nation, More than Any Other District Nationwide

All 23 Eligible High Schools Included in the Top 3 Percent in the Nation

ROCKVILLE, MD - For the first time ever, Newsweek magazine has ranked six Montgomery County public high schools in the top 100 high schools in the nation - more than any other school district in the United States. In the previous four years, five high schools have appeared in the top 100. All of the county's eligible schools are counted among the top 3 percent in the country, according to the Newsweek list released today.

The six top high schools and their rankings are:

Richard Montgomery 32
Thomas S. Wootton 59
Bethesda-Chevy Chase 63
Walt Whitman 68
Walter Johnson 75
Winston Churchill 96

The Newsweek rankings highlight the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) reform efforts over the last eight years to encourage more high school students from every background to take challenging Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Participation in these rigorous programs provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in college and the world of work.

Newsweek uses 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, developed by Jay Mathews, is derived from the number of AP or IB tests taken by all students at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.

"Our mission is to ensure that every student in Montgomery County Public Schools has the opportunity to participate in challenging academic courses," said Montgomery County Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. "These latest rankings from Newsweek are yet another validation of the investment we have made in our educational program."

"It is an extraordinary accomplishment for our schools to consistently achieve such high rankings on the Newsweek list year in and year out,"said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. "It speaks to the exceptional performance of our students, who have taken up the challenge of these high level courses, and of MCPS staff members, who have encouraged, supported, and helped our students thrive."

Since 2000, MCPS has undertaken significant reforms to increase academic success for all students and close the achievement gap. Fundamentally, the reforms are predicated upon hiring and training high-quality teachers, reducing class sizes, and offering students a rigorous and challenging curriculum.

Student performance indicates MCPS is making excellent progress in raising achievement and closing the gap in several areas.

*46 percent of the Class of 2007 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, more than triple the national average and double the Maryland average.

*60 percent of the Class of 2007 took at least one AP exam during high school, more than double the national average of 25 percent.

*In 2007, the percentages of both Hispanic and African American students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams were above the national average of 15.2 percent for all students.

*An historic high of 24,208 Advanced Placement exams were taken by MCPS students in 2007.

*Record number of students - 283 - named National AP Scholars by The College Board.

*93 percent of kindergartners in spring 2007 met or exceeded reading targets, compared with 39 percent in 2001.

*A record 45.6 percent of fifth grade students took advanced math in 2007, compared with just 196 students (2 percent of the class) six years ago.

*A record 56 percent of Grade 8 students in 2007 completed Algebra 1, compared with the national average of just 25 percent.

*33 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

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

32 Richard Montgomery
59 Thomas Wootton
63 Bethesda-Chevy Chase
68 Walt Whitman
75 Walter Johnson
96 Winston Churchill
199 Montgomery Blair
296 Springbrook
312 Poolesville
313 Rockville
328 Albert Einstein
338 James Hubert Blake
418 Paint Branch
438 Watkins Mill
474 Northwest
505 Sherwood
552 Col. Zadok Magruder
651 Gaithersburg
696 Quince Orchard
816 Wheaton
837 John F. Kennedy
860 Damascus
906 Seneca Valley

* The rankings are based on the Challenge Index, which is derived from the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2007 divided by the number of graduating seniors. This list excludes Northwood High School and Clarksburg High School because they did not have graduating seniors in 2007.

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