Myers Park Ranked 38th Best High School in America

Fourteen CMS schools make Newsweek magazine's best high schools list

Newsweek magazine released its 1,300 Best High Schools in America list, with several CMS high schools included in the top five percent of public schools across the country. The ranking measures how well students are prepared for college.

This national ranking is based on a school's ability to offer educational programs and academically challenge its students. The formula divides the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken by students into the number of graduating seniors from approximately 27,000 of the nation's public high schools. The data used is from 2007.

"Increasing enrollment in AP and IB courses to provide as many graduating CMS seniors with the opportunity to take at least one AP or IB course prior to graduating continues to be a goal for CMS based on our 2010 strategic plan," said Ann Clark, associate superintendent for pre K-12 curriculum and instruction.

Fourteen out of the 55 high schools on the list from North Carolina are CMS schools, with Myers Park ranking 38, the highest in the state for offering students academically rigorous coursework and administering both AP and IB exams.  Last year, Myers Park ranked 31 and as high as eighth in 2003. All five Olympic small schools in CMS made the list.

According to Newsweek, AP and IB are important measures for ranking because "they give average students a chance to experience the trauma of heavy college reading lists and long, analytical college examinations." The magazine also cited research showing "the best predictors of college graduation were not good high-school grades or test scores, but whether or not a student had an intense academic experience in high school."

AP and IB courses offer students the opportunity to tackle college-level academics while still in high school. AP exams meet national standards; IB exams meet international standards. Both AP and IB exams are recognized by most top universities and colleges. CMS offers up to 30 different AP courses and supports nine IB-authorized programs at the high-school level. Last year, 79 percent of all seniors graduated having taken at least one AP or IB course.

While CMS continues to earn accolades for increasing public school students' access (particularly for poor and minority students) to more rigorous courses, exam pass rates are still a concern.

"We've made important and significant strides in getting more students willing and able to tackle the challenge offered by an AP or IB course, which research shows is significant in terms of college success," said Clark. "Now we need to find out how we can support our students better so more achieve at the college level on the exams."

The following are the other CMS high schools that ranked among the top 1,300 schools in the country.

  • Harding University High (130)
  • Olympic High - Math, Engineering, Technology and Science (134)
  • Olympic High - International Studies and Global Economics (169)
  • Providence High (172)
  • North Mecklenburg High School (188)
  • Butler High School (416)
  • Olympic High - Biotech, Health, and Public Administration (454)
  • East Mecklenburg High (472)
  • Hopewell High School (533)
  • Northwest School of the Arts (546)
  • South Mecklenburg High (607)
  • Olympic High - Renaissance (869)
  • Olympic High - International Business and Communication Studies (1,195)

The complete list can be found on the magazine's web site: