The news coming from one of the nationâ€™s greatest newspapers is great news for Winthrop High School.
The Washington (D.C.) Post newspaper has selected Winthrop High School as the 17th best high school in Massachusetts. Boston Latin, arguably one of the premier public high schools in the country, is ranked No. 3 on the list.
The ranking is based on the number of Advanced Placement courses taken by students and the number of AP and other college level tests taken by students.
The rating can reveal the level of a high schoolâ€™s commitment to preparing students for college, according to the Washington Postâ€™s Website. It also considers a schoolâ€™s curriculum and the challengingÂ courses that are offered.
With graduation for the Class of 2011 set for next week and Winthrop seniors heading to such elite schools as Harvard, Boston College, Brandeis, Babson and the University of California/Berkeley, Principal Gail Conlon welcomed the honor from the prestigious newspaper.
â€œWeâ€™re extraordinarily pleased by the recognition,â€ said Conlon. â€œWeâ€™ve been working for a number of years on expanding our AP course offerings and encouraging our students to take advantage of them,â€ said Conlon. â€œThis ranking is based on AP scores and challenging curriculums and we believe that we have high standards for our high-achieving students.â€
Conlon, who taught at the high school for 20 years, said she is proud of the educational product that is offered to all WHS students and students in the middle and elementary schools.
â€œI feel we have a tremendous school system in this town,â€ said Conlon. â€œThere have been in the past a lot of naysayers about our schools. Weâ€™ve been working hard to raise the bar at Winthrop High School and I think this [ranking] proves that we have raised the bar.â€
Conlon said students are enrolling in the schoolâ€™s most challenging courses in preparation for college. â€œWeâ€™ve been able to grow our AP program and increase the number of our Abigail Adams academic scholarships. We have a rigorous curriculum and we plan to continue that approach.â€
Conlon said one out of two graduates of the Class of 2011 took an Advanced Placement course in their sophomore, junior, or senior years.
Finally, Conlon praised the faculty at the high school for their efforts in garnering the high ranking.
â€œThe teachers at Winthrop High School are tremendously dedicated,â€ said Conlon. â€œOur teachers and our guidance counselors prepare our students very well for college and the admission process. Many of our students will be able to go on to college with college credit because of our Advanced Placement courses. This award is a compliment to our staff and our students who are challenging themselves to take high-level courses.â€
Conlon said a state grant has also helped the schoolâ€™s overall mission toward academic excellence.
â€œThe Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative Grant has helped us greatly,â€ said Conlon. â€œIt gives support to our AP courses. It provides academic workshops on Saturdays for our students and professional development programs for our teachers.â€
Asked whether sheâ€™ll mention the Washington Post honor at graduation
next Friday night, Conlon said humbly, â€œMaybe I will.â€ â€œBut this is a prestigious list and weâ€™ve worked very hard to get there and we hope to continue on this road in the future.â€
Information about the rankings and the formula for the rankings was taken from the Washington Postâ€™s Website/High School Challenge and used in this story.