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Top High Schools in the Washington, DC Metro

Top High Schools in the Washington, DC Metro

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Updated on Aug 23, 2011

Below are profiles featuring the top nine high schools in the Dallas Metropolitan Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 Education.com TestRating of 10 out of 10.  The TestRating compares a school's standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the same state. Find your school and see how it compares.

 
 
District of Columbia Public Schools
 
 
When students come back to visit, they often tell the staff that college is a breeze compared to the high school program at Benjamin Banneker Academy High School. The school achieves both a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate through providing an academically focused and nurturing family environment. The faculty mentors each student through the college application and financial aid process to find their best fit. Additionally, many of Benjamin Bannekar students are the first in their family to attend college.
 
Prior to starting the ninth grade, each student attends a five-week Summer Institute.As soon as students set foot on campus, they are taught that the focus of the next four years is about getting into college. The school has strict guidelines, including an enforced dress code and a no cell phone rule on campus.
 
Some athletics are offered, but students can play the sports not offered at Benjamin Banneker at their base school as well. Students are required to complete 275 hours of community service for graduation and are given some time on Wednesday afternoons to volunteer.
 
“There are not a lot of students who I don’t know their parents personally. The students also look out for each other. We build amazing relationship with parents and students to help them find a good fit for college,” said Anita Berger, Principal.
 
 
 
Calvert County Public Schools School District
 
 
The faculty and staff at Huntingtown High School works to help each student achieve their best while maintaining a family atmosphere on campus. The school opened in 2004 and has received extensive support from the parents and community. State of the art technology, like smartboards and wireless labs, is installed throughout the school.
 
All 1600 students eat lunch at the same time each day to allow time for students to get extra help or attend a club meeting. A high number of students participate in the extensive AP courses available and many students have shown improvements in their subject levels
 
The theater program ranks in the top 35 drama programs in the country with around 150 student participants. The music programs, especially the band, orchestra and choir, also regularly receive top honors at competitions. Many students play on the school’s sports teams, which are very competitive. The ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program has also received regional awards in recent years.
 
“The staff at the school is very collaborative in nature and we work in teams. The teachers help each other and share ideas. Teachers really enjoy working here.” said Rick Weber, Principal.
 
 
 
Frederick County Public Schools School District
 
At Middletown High School graduations, the audience is often filled with elementary and middle school teachers of the graduates. Since the community has four elementary schools and one middle school, the high school benefits from a strong sense of community support. Representatives from the four elementary and one middle school that feed into Middletown High often meet together to create a vertical aligning curriculum to create the ideal education for their students. This collaboration creates community support from Pre-K to graduation and provides a curriculum that builds each year with little redundancy.
 
The school has a low dropout rate that accompanies a graduation rate of 98.9 percent. To help students transition from middle to high school, the school offers a supportive Freshmen Academy. The school has extensive AP course offerings and a high pass rate for the exams. The school also offers a program that helps income freshman prepare for AP courses.
 
Athletics are important to the school and teams have had a lot of success, especially in swimming, baseball, soccer. The theater and band programs also have excellent reputations.
 
“Our community is very passionate about each student being successful,” said Jay Berno, Principal of Middletown High School.
 
 
 
Calvert County Public Schools School District
 
At Northern High School, students and staff like to say that it’s not about the building of the school, but what you do in the building. The High School is steeped in tradition and people often move into the area because of the quality of the schools. Many of the staff members grew up in the Calvert School System and many upcoming students are children of Northern High graduates.
 
To help ensure that all students stay on track, the school has a one period lunch called Lunch plus M.O.R.E. (More Opportunities to Reach Excellence). Students can use this time to get extra help, attend a special intervention program, go to a club meeting or relax with their friends. The school has a 1300 seat cultural arts center and hosts a spring musical that is renowned in the community. The school is known for athletics, especially the girl’s volleyball and softball teams.
 
The school uses the PBIS system (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) to encourage students when teachers catch them “doing good.” Students get PATS tickets that they can turn in for food prizes and larger items.
 
“Our school has community values. You have it buy into it. It’s not one time or one person. It’s a concept,” said George Miller, Principal of Northern High School.
 
 
 
Montgomery County Public Schools School District
 
 
Poolesville High School benefits from community support that provides a small-town feel to students, while still offering magnet opportunities. The school is open to students living in northern Montgomery County, who qualify through test scores, and to students living in the Poolesville assignment area.
 
During the ninth and tenth grades students take base classes. Before their junior year, students can be invited to attend one or more of three magnet houses: Global Ecology Studies, Math/Science/Computer Science, and Humanities. Students who do not select one of the three houses enroll in the Independent Studies house, where they plan their course of study and complete a senior project.
 
Students can play on a number of competitive sports team for the school. The theater program performs numerous productions throughout the year and the Student Government Association is active on campus. A wide variety of other clubs, ranging from Ping Pong to Roots and Shoots, are also available to students.
 
The school's mission statement reads: "Poolesville High School, the only whole school magnet in Montgomery County, uniting close-knit, rural community values and diverse global perspectives, challenges its students to become confident, versatile, problem-solving citizens through rigorous cross-curricular pathways and meaningful, motivating learning experiences."
 
 
 
District of Columbia Public Schools
 
 
At School Without Walls, a class may meet in nearby museum or a guest speaker from an embassy may be at the front of a classroom. Students gain admission to the magnet school located on the George Washington University campus by application, and admission is only open to Washington D.C. residents. Students use the community and world as their classroom with extensive field trips around Washington D.C. and even to countries like Greece and Italy. Each student is required complete at least one internship and a senior project.
 
Students can take one course a semester at George Washington University during their junior and senior years at no cost, where they can complete as many six courses. Students who meet the admission criteria also have the option of dually enrolling full-time at George Washington at no cost, which enables the student to graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associates of Arts degree.
 
The small school of 470 students has very few discipline issues and is the only school in the district without metal detectors and X-ray machines on campus. The school is very academically focused and has 17 AP course, high SAT scores and a 100% graduation rate.
 
Our student body is very diverse and reflective of the demographics of Washington D.C.,” said Richard Trogisch, principal. “We also have a very international staff with a low-turnover rate.”
 
 
 
Montgomery County Public Schools School District
 
 
The signature programs at Thomas S. Wootton High School allow students to specialize in areas of interest. Students can apply to the programs starting their freshman year, and take special classes interspersed throughout their four years.
 
In the Humanities programs students focus on Social Studies, English, Foreign Language, and Fine Arts and must earn five additional credits to graduate. An off-campus experience, such as overseas study, dual-enrollment at a college or an internship is also part of the program, in addition to a Senior Independent project focusing on an area of humanities.
 
The second signature program at the school is the STARS program (Science Technology and Research Scholars). Students accepted into the program select one of the following specialties: Global Science, Computer Technology, Engineering, Mathematics or Molecular Biology. In addition to courses focusing on these subjects, all students must produce a senior project for graduation.
 
But it’s not all work at Wooten! The school has a host of athletic teams, such as the successful Ice Hockey Team. The theater program also has a great reputation and performs productions throughout the year. Additionally, there are a number of clubs available for students to join.
 
 
 
Montgomery County Public Schools School District
 
 
The administration at Walt Whitman works to provide an environment that balances strong academics and extracurricular offerings. The school boasts high SAT scores and offers many AP courses.
 
One of the goals of the school is to provide each student with an understanding and appreciation of world culture and global issues. The school has international partnerships and hosts students from other countries, such as Denmark and Japan. Walt Whitman students get the opportunity to interact with exchange students, which allows for both students to learn from one another. Additionally, students can choose from an extensive offering of foreign language, including Russian, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese.
 
After the final bell, students can participate in one of the many student sponsored clubs, such as debate or the Crew Club. The school is known for having strong music and art programs, while the school's sports teams are competitive and a source of pride for the school.
 
“I am lucky to be principal of school that has so many wonderful things going on,” said Dr. Alan Goodwin, principal.
 
 
 
Montgomery County Public Schools School District
 
 
Winston Churchill High School provides an academically focused environment and gives students opportunities to explore future careers through Signature programs. The school boasts a high graduation rate of over 98 percent.
 
In the Academy of Mathematics, Technology, and Science, students take specialized courses and participate in extracurriculars such as internships, summer programs, and lectures. Students in the Arts Academy take after school enrichment programs that focus on the arts and also produce a senior portfolio or performance. The requirements for the International Studies Academy is that students must attend lectures and write a paper, in addition to completing an enrichment experience related to International Studies. Students with learning or emotional issues benefit from the Bridge program, which helps students work through issues and succeed in the classroom.
 
The theater program is well known in the community and student publications have taken home numerous awards. A full complement of sports and club programs are offered at the school. The music programs are also top notch and musical groups often win both individual and group awards at competitions.
 
 
 
 
Please note that only schools in the following counties were considered for this article: Alexandria, Arlington, Calvert, Charles, Clarke, District of Columbia, Falls Church, Frederick, Fredericksburg,  Fairfax, Fauquier, Jefferson, Loudon, Montgomery, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Prince George's, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren.
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