By Kavitha Cardoza
Fourteen schools in the Washington area are on Newsweek's list of the Top 100 Best High Schools in America, including two in D.C. One school in northwest D.C. that cracked the top 100 for the first time.
Last year Woodrow Wilson High School ranked 246. Pete Cahall says when he took over as principal in 2008, he was determined to set high expectations.
"It's about pushing kids to the highest level, but providing that support or scaffolding so they can be successful," he says.
Cahall says the school increased the number of students taking advanced placement college-level courses, as well as the number of students passing the tests. he says when he worked as a principal in North Carolina, all the white students were in Advanced Placement or AP courses and all the black students in regular courses. Not so at Wilson.
"If you walk around our school, its hard to tell which ones are the AP courses and which ones are the on-level courses," he says. "So I think kids will rise to the challenge."
Students at the school don't know they made the top 100 list. They have exams going on and Cahall says he didn't want to distract them.
Another school, Bell Multicultural in D.C., ranked 37. And a dozen schools from Maryland and Virginia made the list as well. The rankings were based on how hard staff work to challenge students with college-level courses.