MONTGOMERY, AL - High expectations and performance are the key ingredients that landed Booker T. Washington Magnet High School on Newsweek magazine's coveted America's Best High Schools list.
For the first time in the school's history the arts and college preparatory school is spotlighted by the popular magazine. BTW was among 10 Alabama high schools and 1,600 high schools in America to be included on the list.
"Our students' recognition in Newsweek demonstrates that arts education is a powerful force in promoting high academic achievement. When we support the arts and technology integration in schools, we support learning at higher levels," said BTW Principal Quesha Starks.
"I am grateful to BTW's extraordinary educators, parents, and loyal community supporters for laying the foundation for students to achieve our school's motto, "Excellence in All Things." This accomplishment would not have been possible without the hard work and efforts of teachers, a dedicated school counselor, and support staff who believe in our students and encourage them to pursue challenging advanced placement coursework."
Newsweek determines which schools will make their list based upon student enrollment in Advance Placement (AP) and other college prep courses. Public schools are ranked according to a ratio of the number of AP, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by average students at a school divided by the number of graduating seniors.
Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson believes BTW's success is an example of what happens when expectations of students are challenged. She said increasing the number of students who enroll in AP courses is an important step toward meeting the district's goal of adding more rigor to the curriculum. Currently, the district offers AP and Pre-AP courses in traditional and magnet middle, junior and high schools.
"It's important that we encourage students to pursue college preparatory work because the benefits are immeasurable," said Thompson. "Research has shown that students who take AP courses get a head start on college-level work develop communication and problem-solving skills and the study habits necessary to be successful beyond high school. I believe all our students are up to the challenge and that we will get where we want to be by raising our expectations and putting the right programs and resources in place. I am proud of Ms. Starks and the BTW staff. They are to be commended for their efforts."