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Originally published Monday, June 14, 2010 at 12:17 PM

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5 Bellevue high schools on Newsweek's top 100 list

For the second year in a row, all five of Bellevue's comprehensive high schools have made Newsweek magazine's list of the top 100 public high schools in the country.

Seattle Times Eastside reporter

For the second year in a row, all five of Bellevue's comprehensive high schools have made Newsweek magazine's list of the top 100 public high schools in the country.

Thirty-two public high schools in Washington state made the expanded list of 1,622 best schools. No Seattle high schools were included, but as many as seven should have qualified — an error Newsweek officials say they will correct.

Interlake High was the Bellevue district's highest-performing school, and the highest-performing in the state: It ranked 13th on the list of best schools.

That's a first for Interlake. For most of the time the Newsweek list has existed, the top-performing school was the International School, which this year ranked 20th.

District spokeswoman Ann Oxrieder said Interlake's ranking is helped by its new program for gifted high-school students. Also on the list: Newport High, ranked 45; Sammamish High, 56; Bellevue High, 80.

Bellevue has had three or more of its high schools on the Newsweek list of top schools every year since the list's inception in 1998, Oxrieder said. Last year, for the first time, all five comprehensive high schools made it on the most exclusive count — the top 100. (The district also has an alternative high school, Robinswood.)

The list was compiled by taking the total number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge tests given in 2009 and dividing by the number of seniors graduating in May or June. Any school that had as many tests in 2009 as had graduates was included on the list.

Bellevue has long emphasized trying to get all of its high-school students to take at least one AP or IB exam during their high-school years.

Bob Vaughan, head of advanced programs for Seattle schools, said he applied the Newsweek formula to Seattle school numbers and believes Garfield, Roosevelt, Ingraham, Ballard, West Seattle, Chief Sealth and Hale high schools should be included.

For example, Garfield administered 912 exams in 2009, and 342 students graduated that year, which would have placed the school at 344 on the list, Vaughan said. Roosevelt administered 832 exams and graduated 347 students, which would have placed it at 449 on the list, according to Vaughan's calculations.

Jay Mathews, a Washington Post reporter who compiles the list for Newsweek, said in an e-mail that Seattle schools should have been included. He said Garfield's numbers "failed to reach the web site folks" at Newsweek.

Some schools, including Roosevelt and Ballard, did not return the Newsweek form, possibly because it was screened out by spam filters, Mathews said.

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Vaughan said he would submit the Seattle numbers to Newsweek.

The Lake Washington and Northshore districts each have a school on the long list: Redmond and Inglemoor, respectively.

But once again, Lake Washington's International Community School was not included. It was the only school in the state excluded for being too "elite."

According to Newsweek, the "elite" schools don't make the cut because "despite their exceptional quality, their sky-high SAT and ACT [college-admission tests] scores indicate they have few or no average students."

The International Community School was modeled after Bellevue's International School and uses a lottery for admission instead of selecting students based on their grades or test scores. "It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever," Lake Washington spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said of the school's exclusion.

Also on the list of 1,622, and their rankings:

• Central Kitsap High in Silverdale, 427;

• Federal Way High in Federal Way, 428;

• Redmond High in Redmond, 623;

• Jefferson High in Auburn, 793;

• Mercer Island High on Mercer Island, 840;

• Edmonds Woodway in Edmonds, 999;

• Issaquah High in Issaquah, 1,105;

• Tahoma High in Covington, 1,187;

• Inglemoor High in Kenmore, 1,195;

• Shorewood High in Shoreline, 1,280.

To see the list, go to: www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools/list.html

Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or klong@seattletimes.com

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