September 2009, Volume 13, Number 7


MDC high schools rank among the best

Female student at a computer

No one at Miami Dade College was surprised that the two high schools housed at the College made Newsweek’s list of top high schools in the U.S.

That’s because the School for Advanced Studies (SAS) and the high school division of New World School of the Arts (NWSA) have consistently ranked among the top six percent of the 27,000 public high schools on Newsweek’s annual list. New World School of the Arts has been on the list since 2006 while the School for Advanced Studies has placed since 2003.

Surprising, though, were the positive leaps each institution made in the last two years.

Since 2007, NWSA’s ranking improved 34 percent while the ranking for the SAS improved 95 percent.

The SAS, in fact, ranks among the top 1 percent of high schools in the nation, according to the Newsweek list, resting soundly at number 15 among 1,500 schools. NWSA is in the top 37 percent at number 569.

The challenge index

Newsweek uses a system called the Challenge Index to rank America’s high schools. The magazine takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests given at a school in May and divides by the number of seniors graduating in May or June.

All public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.000, meaning they had as many tests in 2007 as they had graduates, are put on the list on Newsweek’s Web site, and the 100 schools with the highest ratios are named in Newsweek magazine.

By no means an exact science, the Challenge Index gives a snapshot indication of how public schools stack up around the nation. When compared to other highly regarded ranking systems for public high schools, however, the results seem consistent.

For example, both NWSA and the AS were mentioned in the U.S. News & World Report’s Gold Medal list of best American high schools.

Standards of excellence

A partnership between Miami Dade College and the public school system in Miami-Dade County, the SAS was designed for motivated, and academically talented, 11th and 12th grade students whose needs are not adequately addressed in the traditional high school setting.

Each semester, students enroll in a minimum of three college dual enrollment courses taught by MDC faculty and four high school courses taught by public school teachers.

Dual enrollment courses are college courses that provide both high school and college credits at the same time.

The success rate of SAS, which was founded in 1988, has been phenomenal: 100 percent of its graduates continue their studies at top colleges and universities in Florida and around the globe.

NWSA is Florida’s premier center of excellence in the visual and performing arts. As a conservatory, NWSA develops talented students in the areas of dance, music, theater and visual arts from the 9th grade through the baccalaureate level.
Students at NWSA benefit from numerous, unique opportunities, including world-renowned faculty and guest artists, internships, foreign exchange visits and artistic and cultural events.

— Gariot P. Louima

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.