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Eleven schools make national list of high school excellence

josh portrait1ROCKVILLE- Eleven Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) high schools made it onto the 2014 Best High Schools list, published by U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday. 

Seven of the MCPS represented schools – Walt Whitman (61), Thomas S. Wootton (65), Poolesville (83), Richard Montgomery (163), Quince Orchard (176), Col. Zadok Magruder (319), and Montgomery Blair (389) – received gold medals for being among the top 500 schools in the country. 
The four other recognized MCPS high schools – John F. Kennedy (583), Wheaton (589), Gaithersburg (591), and Springbrook (1,047) – won silver medals for being among the top 2,019 schools. 
MCPS comprises more than 25 percent of the 42 Maryland schools on the Best High Schools list, including the top four in the state: Whitman, Wootton, Poolesville, and Richard Montgomery. Last year MCPS claimed eight of the 58 Maryland schools on the list. 
U.S. News teamed up with Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research to evaluate more than 31,000 high schools across the nation. They used a three-step evaluation of the schools, examining overall student performance at state-mandated assessments, how effectively schools educated their African American, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students, and student performance on Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. 
Upon compiling the analysis of the data, researchers created a College Readiness Index for each school to calculate how well each school was preparing their students for higher education work. 
Dr. Michael Doran, principal of Wootton High School in Rockville, is proud of such an achievement, but said recognition like this is not necessarily what he strives for as administrator.
“Measuring the success of a student body, for me at least, involves looking at more than just how high-achieving our students are,” Doran said. “It’s much more complex than that.”
Doran noted that a great school means students are thriving in the class room but it’s equally important that students are participating outside of the classroom in music, drama, art, or athletic programs. 
Doran was not surprised to see Wootton on the U.S. News list this year. 
“Our students are a caring, charitable, intelligent group,” he said. 
Doran said that this achievement should make his students proud, and he hopes it motivates them to keep up the hard work. 
MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr sees the county’s commitment to a great education paying off and says that this list confirms such dedication on behalf of the students, families, and staff. 
“The U.S. News list recognizes the work that MCPS is doing to prepare its students for success in college and the work place,” Starr said. “We must continue to focus on meeting the educational needs of every student so they have the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their future.”

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