Out of 25,000 high schools in the nation, Brainerd High School ranks in the top 500, according to Newsweek magazine.
BHS fell into the 345th spot under a formula created by Jay Mathews of Newsweek magazine. He took the number of advanced placement and international baccalaureate tests students took divided by the number of graduates. That formula gave BHS a 1.174 ratio.
Almost 300 BHS students last year took more than 500 advanced placement and international baccalaureate tests to bring the school into this rating. The school also ranked No. 2 in the state for the number of AP tests taken.
There are 19 AP programs offered at the high school and any student can take the courses, which have been provided for the past 15 years. Some of these courses are calculus, U.S. and European history and two English classes. Students also receive a college credit for taking the classes.
There are 17 teachers who teach AP courses at BHS, and seven were selected to become AP readers for the examinations.
Stuart Lade, AP coordinator, said the reason Brainerd made it in the top 500 is because of the students', teachers' and parents' efforts.
"They were on the same wavelength and developed a real partnership," he said. "This program has been driven by student demand to have this kind of rigorous program."
"It took a strong vision from those who have been working on the program," said Principal Steve Razidlo. "Students have the ability to get into the AP classes through our open door policy and all the students who try for it give it their best shot and the results are fantastic."
Stanton College Prep in Florida ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to Newsweek, with a 4.324 ratio. Other Minnesota high schools that made the top 500 were Central in St. Paul, 238, 1.375; Bemidji, 309, 1.236; Eastview in Apple Valley, 384, 1.120; and Irondale in New Brighton, 390, 1.106.
The federal and state governments support the AP program because it works. The Clinton administration spent $15 million last year on cutting AP and IB test fees, increasing training for teachers and making more courses available. The administration asked Congress for $20 million this year, including money to put AP courses online.
In the last 25 years, these programs have evolved into proven devices for inspiring first-rate academic work by disadvantaged teen-agers, reported Mathews.
More than 1.1 million AP tests and about 43,000 IB tests were given in 13,000 U.S. schools last year -- 52 percent of high school students across the states take the tests. These numbers are expected to jump much higher this spring. States are promising more money for districts that want to expand their AP and IB offerings.
This story contains information from the Newsweek story.
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