Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 11, 2014

High schools among most challenging in U.S., state

TRAVERSE CITY — Local students have the opportunity to attend two of the most challenging high schools in the nation, based on the Washington Post’s annual rankings.

Traverse City Central High School ranked 23rd in the state and 1,350th in the nation in this year’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools results. Traverse City West Senior High School ranked 27th in the state and 1,445th in the nation.

“I think it’s a huge point of pride for our school district,” TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said. “It reflects a comprehensive approach by the staff in those buildings and a deep, deep commitment by the educators in those buildings to provide a great learning experience to our students.”

The Washington Post takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education exams given at a school each year and divides them by the number of seniors who graduated in the spring to come up with a ratio.

The Post calls the formula the “Challenge Index” and uses that number to indicate the level of challenging coursework that confronts high school students at each school. It does not take into account students’ scores on the exams.

Public schools that had a ratio of at least 1.00, which meant they had as many tests in 2013 as they had graduates, were put on the list. Only nine percent of about 22,000 total public high schools in the United States met that standard this year, and 35 Michigan high schools made the cut.

Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School were the only schools in the area to make the list. Both made the list four years in a row.

Central High School principal Rick Vandermolen said he’s “elated” about the recognition because it shows Traverse City is competitive not only with other schools in Michigan but across the country.

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