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Newsweek Ranks 5 MCPS High Schools in Nation Top 100

April 30, 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006

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

ROCKVILLE, MD -- For the second year in a row, Newsweek magazine has ranked five Montgomery County public high schools in the top 100 high schools in the nation. That's more schools in the top 100 than any other school district in America. In addition, all 23 eligible high schools are included in the top 3 percent in the country, according to the Newsweek list released Sunday.

The five high schools are Richard Montgomery, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Thomas Wootton, Winston Churchill, and Walter Johnson.

The Newsweek rankings highlight the efforts Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has made over the last six years to encourage more high school students from every background to take challenging Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. More MCPS high school students are taking and succeeding in AP and IB than ever before, and far outperforming the national average on the rigorous exams that accompany the courses.

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 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 that our efforts to open the doors of advanced programs for all students are leading to unparalleled success for our students. Our staff, parents and students can be especially proud of their success as recognized by this national publication," said, Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. "Our outstanding teachers and staff challenge our students every day with a rigorous, high-quality curriculum that prepares them well for life in college and beyond."

"It is very satisfying to see our students' success recognized nationally. We have made extraordinary strides in creating a learning environment where all of our students can achieve and succeed," said Montgomery County Board of Education President Charles Haughey.

"This is further confirmation that our educational reform efforts are paying off," said County Executive Douglas M Duncan. "In one of the largest minority school districts in the nation, extraordinary academic gains are being made because as a community we have put education first."

The Newsweek rankings are the result of more than six years of steady efforts to reform the school system. The reforms are predicated upon hiring and training high quality teachers, reducing class sizes and offering students a rigorous and challenging curriculum. The reforms have focused on raising academic achievement for all students and closing the achievement gap.

Student performance indicates significant progress has been made in raising achievement and closing the gap. Consider these statistics:

* 44 percent of the Class of 2005 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam ¡V more than triple the national average and double the Maryland average

* 54 percent of the Class of 2005 took at least one AP exam during high school, more than double the national average of 23 percent

* 17 percent of African American students and 33 percent of Hispanic students in the Class of 2005 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, topping the national average of 14 percent for all students

* Record number of students ¡V 160 ¡V named National AP Scholar by The College Board

* Walter Johnson High School named best in the world for AP World History program by The College Board

* For the second year in a row, MCPS seniors topped 1100 on the math and critical reading portion of the SAT ¡V a record among school districts in Maryland

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

* Winner of the U.S. Senate Productivity Award in Maryland¡Xthe state¡¦s highest honor for organizational performance excellence

* 48 percent of Grade 8 students in 2005 completed Algebra 1, compared to the national average of just 25 percent

* 31 National Blue Ribbon Schools

* Tied for the top school in the nation with 12 semifinalists in the 65th Intel Talent Search; third place in the nation won by a Montgomery Blair High School student

* 81 percent of kindergartners in spring 2005 met or exceeded reading targets, compared to 39 percent in 2001.



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


Rank High School
15 Richard Montgomery
34 Bethesda-Chevy Chase
51 Thomas Wootton
74 Winston Churchill
100 Walter Johnson
114 Walt Whitman
155 Springbrook
230 Montgomery Blair
306 Poolesville
352 Col. Zadok Magruder
362 Quince Orchard
367 Sherwood
426 Rockville
443 John F. Kennedy
487 James Hubert Blake
507 Paint Branch
601 Watkins Mill
607 Wheaton
625 Damascus
648 Albert Einstein
666 Gaithersburg
704 Northwest
772 Seneca Valley

More information about the Newsweek Top 100 is available at www.newsweek.com.

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