For a second straight year, U.S. News & World Report magazine has ranked Middle College High School (MCHS) of the West Contra Costa Unified School District among the top high schools in the nation, it was announced Tuesday.
The school, an early college program located on the Contra Costa College campus, was given a bronze medal in the news magazine’s annual rankings.
MCHS could not achieve a higher ranking because it operates a bit outside of the bounds of the national rankings. Its students can take college courses rather than Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, which are key to the rankings’ “College Readiness Index.”
Instead, the school’s students are able to graduate with an associate’s degree or enough units to transfer to a four-year university as a junior. MCHS offers at risk students with high potential and low academic performance a unique and challenging pathway to completing high school and college. Students also gain job skills by working in various off-campus internships.
The U.S. News & World Report award is the latest in a string of accolades for the school. In 2005 and 2009, MCHS was named a California Distinguished School, and in 2006 it was named a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School. From 2007 through 2009, it made the Best High School in America list.
“The hard work our students are willing to take on in order to be successful in both their high school and college courses is an amazing testament to their desire to succeed and their love of learning,” Principal Anne Shin said in a statement. “This distinction would not have been possible without our partners at Contra Costa College and the guidance and support our teachers give their students every single day of the year.”
To attend MCHA, which has a student body of about 285, students must fill out an application and be accepted by a panel of college instructors and high school teachers. The application period for the 2016-17 school year will open in January, WCCUSD said.