Washington Post Recognizes Boise District High Schools

Boise, Borah, Capital & Timberline Again Make National List of Most Challenging High Schools
Posted on 09/05/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Boise, Borah, Capital & Timberline Again Make National List of Most Challenging High Schools

Boise, Borah, Capital and Timberline high schools are once again in the national spotlight for helping prepare students for college and beyond.

All four Boise District comprehensive high schools have once again made the 2016 Washington Post list of the "Most Challenging High Schools in America"  A total of seven Idaho schools were identified on this year's list: two high-income charters, Century High School (Pocatello) and the four Boise high schools. Approximately 11% of high schools nationwide were identified this year by the Post.

This is the 8th consecutive year that all four Boise District high schools have made the list. Capital has been on for 8 years, Borah 9, Timberline for 15, and Boise High School for 18 consecutive years.

All 4 high schools celebrated this major accomplishment with special recognition ceremonies held during each of their annual student academic assemblies.  

On Friday, April 1, 2016 the student body at Capital High School gathered in the school's main gymnasium to celebrate student academic successes for the 2015-16 school year, complete with a Star Wars themed academic assembly. Pictured is District Deputy Superintendent Mr. Coby Dennis presenting Capital High Principal Ms. Sandy Winters (dressed as "Princess Leia) with a special awards plaque recognizing Capital for earning the distinction of being named one of America's Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post.Photo of Capital High Principal and Deputy Superintendent Coby Dennis

On Friday, April 22nd, Borah High School held its annual Borah Senator's Choice Awards assembly celebrating the accomplishments of its outstanding students. Pictured is District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly presenting Borah Principal Mr. Tim Standlee with a plaque commemorating the school's distinction of making the national Washington Post list America's Most Challenging High Schools.Borah Principal and District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly

On Friday, April 29th, the main gymnasium at Boise High was filled with students, parents and staff as they, too, celebrated the academic successes of Boise High students. Pictured is Dr. Coberly presenting the Washington Post plaque to Boise High Principal Mr. Robb Thompson.Boise High Principal Robb Thompson & District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly

Fiinally, on Monday, May 16th, the auditorium at Timberline High was the venue for recognizing the 2015-16 academic successes of Timberline students, including being named a top school in the nation as rated by the Washington Post. Pictured is Dr. Coberly presenting the Washington Post award to Timberline Principal Mr. Ted Hettinga.Timberline High Principal Ted Hettinga & District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly

The formula used by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews, an education columnist, is simple - the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams taken divided by the number of graduating seniors in the high school in a given year. The Washington Post list is intended to measure the access students have to rigorous coursework, and their willingness to participate in that curriculum.

From our perspective, Advanced Placement is the "gold standard" of Advanced Opportunities in the state of Idaho. We say this for several reasons:

  • Since AP features a common rigorous exam system for each of its courses, students who take AP exams can rest assured that students across the country have faced the same challenge in the exam system as have they.
  • Training opportunities for Advanced Placement courses provide for conversation and interaction among teachers of the same courses across the country, and allow for extensive learning opportunities for teachers from practitioners approved by the College Board.
  • Students can learn how the colleges in which they have interest, whether in Idaho or outside of the state, will treat the scores they earn on AP tests in providing college credit or waivers from college courses.

Students and parents can research AP credit acceptance policies for universities and colleges at this site.

Boise School District offers an Advanced Placement program with at least 23 AP offerings in each comprehensive high school. Boise students took 37% of the statewide Advanced Placement exams in 2015, earning thousands of credit waivers and college credits at universities across the country.

Data for this article was obtained from Boise School District Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly's Data Points blog post, which is dedicated to providing student achievement and education trend analysis and is intended for parents and patrons interested in an objective, data-driven look student performance in Boise and across Idaho. Click here or the image below to access the Data Points blog.  

Data Points blog post

Data Points blog post