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Washington Post Names North Penn High School Among Top in the Nation


Consider it a FOUR-peat.

For the fourth consecutive year, The Washington Post recognized North Penn High School as one of the top high schools in the nation in its annual "The High School Challenge" report.

Since 1998, The Post’s Jay Mathews has ranked Washington-area public high schools using the Challenge Index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college.

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In 2011, the Post expanded its research to high schools across the United States. For the fourth year, North Penn High School is one of only 33 schools in Pennsylvania to make the list.

The Washington Post explains the calculation as dividing the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests a school gave in 2013 by the number of graduating seniors. Also noted are the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, called equity and excellence, (E&E).The Washington Post website goes on to say that while not a measure of the overall quality of the school, the rating can reveal the level of a high school’s commitment to preparing students for college.

“With district-level support, North Penn High School’s continued focus on increasing AP enrollment and participation in AP testing continues to pay dividends in the form of national recognition,” said Burton T. Hynes, principal of North Penn High School. “I am thrilled that the work of our students and staff members has been recognized by The Washington Post for the fourth year in a row!  This accolade validates the effort of our students and staff as well as the support of our families as we are once again identified in 'The High School Challenge' as one of American’s outstanding high schools.”

AP courses are college-level courses that are often the most advanced courses taught at the high school. The courses are academically challenging and can equal college credit and possible advanced standing for those who participate and do well on the AP exams. 

The total number of students participating in AP courses increased at NPHS from 166 in 1998-1999 to 744 in 2012-2013. In that same time, the number of administered tests rose from 284 to 1,400. 

Eighty-three percent of the 1,400 exams taken by North Penn High School students in 2012-2013 were at a 3+ or higher on a 5-point scale.  This compares favorably to the 68 percent of all Pennsylvania test-takers scoring a 3+ or higher.

In the 2012-2013 school year, NPHS also boasted 216 students who earned a Scholar Award. The College Board categorizes the scholar awards into three levels:  AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, and AP Scholar with Distinction.  North Penn High School had 89 students who earned AP Scholar status by receiving scores of three or higher on three or more AP exams. 

North Penn High School also had 43 students who earned AP Scholar with Honor recognition by scoring at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of three or higher on four or more of these exams.

North Penn High School is also proud to boast that it had 81 AP Scholars with Distinction, which is granted to those who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of three or higher on five or more of those exams. 

Additionally, the College Board grants National AP Scholar status to those students in the United States who receive an average score of at least four on all AP exams taken and scores of four or higher on eight or more of these exams. North Penn High School had 30 students who scored at the National AP Scholar level.  

For more information on The Washington Post’s High School Challenge, log onto

For more information about North Penn High School, please contact NPHS Principal Burt Hynes at

- For North Penn TAP via Madeline Bergman

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