Washington Post Names NPHS One of America’s Best for Second Straight Year
LANSDALE – For the second consecutive year, The Washington Post recognized North Penn High School as one of the top high schools in the nation in its annual report, The High School Challenge. The North Penn School District received the outstanding news just hours after being notified that it was ranked as one of the top public high schools in the country by Newsweek.
Since 1998, The Post’s Jay Mathews has ranked Washington-area public high schools using the Challenge Index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college. In 2011, the Post expanded its research to high schools across the United States. For the second year, North Penn High School is one of only 29 schools in Pennsylvania to make the list.
The Washington Post explains the calculation as dividing the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests a school gave in 2011 by the number of graduating seniors. Also noted are the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, called equity and excellence, (E&E).The Washington Post website goes on to say that while not a measure of the overall quality of the school, the rating can reveal the level of a high school’s commitment to preparing students for college.
“The North Penn School District has been focusing on increasing AP participation and testing as a measure of achievement for our students for the past several years now,” said Burton T. Hynes, principal, North Penn High School. “I am thrilled that the work of our students and staff members has been recognized by The Washington Post. I am extremely proud that we were named to the list and I have the NPSD staff, students and their families to thank.”
AP courses are college-level courses that are often the most advanced courses taught at the high school. The courses are academically challenging and can equal college credit and possible advanced standing for those who participate and do well on the AP exams.
The total number of students participating in AP courses increased at NPHS from 166 in 1998-1999 to 601 in 2010-2011. In that same time, the number of administered tests rose from 284 to 1,217. Eighty-four (84) percent of North Penn High School students taking the exam in 2010-2011 scored a 3+ or higher on a 5 point scale. This compares favorably to the 67 percent of all Pennsylvania test-takers scoring a 3+ or higher.
In the 2010-2011 school year, NPHS also boasted 201 students who earned a Scholar Award. The College Board categorizes the scholar awards into three levels: AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, and AP Scholar with Distinction. North Penn High School had 74 students who earned AP Scholar status by receiving scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. North Penn High School also had 34 students who earned AP Scholar with Honor recognition by scoring at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. North Penn High School is also proud to boast that it had 68 AP Scholars with Distinction which is granted to those who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of those exams.
Additionally, the College Board grants National AP Scholar status to those students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. North Penn High School had 25 students who scored at the National AP Scholar level.
For more information on The Washington Post’s High School Challenge, log onto http://apps.washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge. For more information about North Penn High School, please contact NPHS Principal Burt Hynes at firstname.lastname@example.org.