Rowland Unified School District

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Rowland High Makes Washington Post List Again For Nation's Most Academically Challenging Schools

Diamond Bar, Walnut, Rowland and Wilson high schools make national list for academic challenge

Local high schools did well in the Washington Post’s new list of the nation’s most academically challenging schools. The Post used what it calls a Challenge Index to rank high schools across the country.

Only 9 percent of the nation’s 22,000 public high schools managed to make the list.

“On our list, the top 220 schools are in the top 1 percent nationally, the top 440 in the top 2 percent, and so on,” explained Staff Writer Jay Mathews on the Post’s web site. Diamond Bar High School ranked the best locally, coming in 317 out of the 2,000 schools listed. Sixty percent of its students passed at least one college-level test during their high school career.

“Our goal has been to responsibly increase access to advanced placement courses at Diamond Bar High,” said Principal Catherine Real. “Research shows that students who take an AP course in high school do better in college.”

Real said the Brahmas actually rank 30th in the state, if you eliminate private schools from the list.

“Many schools on the list have special admission screening,” Real said. “The fact that Diamond Bar High School is an open enrollment school and still ranks among the best in the state and nation is very impressive.”

Walnut High School also ranked in the top 2 percent with a rank of 439. Fifty-three percent of its student body have passed a college-level test.

“We’re always excited to be ranked as one of the top high schools not only in the state, but also nationally,” wrote Principal Jeff Jordan. “Our staff and students worked really hard to be recognized with this honor.”

The administrator pointed out the Mustangs offer more than 22 AP courses, 18 IB courses and 18 varsity sports. He added a high percentage of graduates go on to four-year colleges.

The list also notes the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies. Diamond Bar has 7 percent, while Walnut has 13 percent.

Rowland High School made the Post list even though half its students are eligible for the lunch subsidies. The Raiders ranked 685.

“Basically, I’m very happy that our school was recognized,” said Principal Mitch Brunyer. “We have been increasing in our ranking every year since 2011 to 2014. Nationally, we went from 1,347 to 685. Then statewide, we went from 212 to 90, so we’ve been on a positive increase.” Click HERE for entire article.

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