MPS’ top schools again earn high marks in Washington Post, U.S. News national rankings

Post ranks 2 MPS schools as tops in the Milwaukee region and among the 50 best in the Midwest; U.S. News ranks 3 MPS schools in state top 25

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Schools’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School have been named the #2 and #3 best high schools in Wisconsin, respectively, in new ratings announced by the Washington Post.

King and Reagan are the two best high schools in the Milwaukee region and are both among the 50 best high schools in the Midwest, according to the analysis by the Post’s Jay Matthews. Matthews grades schools based upon the percentage of students taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests to determine which schools do the best job of challenging students to grow academically.

Both King and Reagan offer families the International Baccalaureate program, which was developed for the children of diplomats to ensure they have access to the highest quality education as they move around the world. IB programs help develop “the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world,” according to the IB organization.

MPS offers IB at other locations as well, including MacDowell Montessori School, which offers the IB diploma program. MPS also has two International Baccalaureate Middle Years sites – Rufus King International School Middle Years Campus and Wedgewood Park International School – as well as an “IB Primary Years Programme” at the Academy of Accelerated Learning.

In separate rankings released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report, King and Carmen High School of Science and Technology, a charter school authorized by MPS, are ranked #2 and #5 in Wisconsin. MPS’ Milwaukee School of Languages ranked #25 in the state.

U.S. News’ rankings examine: whether students are performing better than statistically better than expected based upon the state average, factoring in the percentage of economically-disadvantaged students; whether the least-advantaged students are performing better than average in the state; and college-readiness performance as measured by Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data.

“We’re always excited to be recognized for the strong options we provide our families,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “We’re equally excited about the significant academic reforms we’ve implemented across the district to ensure all of our graduates are college and career ready.”

Those efforts include stronger graduation requirements and expanded access to advanced coursework.

More than 4,000 MPS students are taking an advanced academic studies course – Advanced Placement, honors or International Baccalaureate – this school year. Between 2009-10 and 2012-13, MPS grew the share of students taking an Advanced Placement course by four percentage points.