UPDATED: Nine Idaho high schools pass Washington Post ‘challenge’

(UPDATED, May 6, to add Vallivue to the list.)

A ninth Idaho high school had made the Washington Post’s annual list of America’s most challenging high schools.

It’s not a newbie. Vallivue High School in Caldwell was added to the list. Vallivue had been on the list in the past, but was omitted when the first list came out in April.

“Somehow, our data did not get to the Washington Post, so we were not included in the initial rankings,” Vallivue Superintendent Pat Charlton told Idaho Education News Friday.

Here’s who made the cut on the updated Idaho list:

  • Riverstone International, Boise.
  • Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, Coeur d’Alene.
  • Boise High School, Boise.
  • North Star Charter, Eagle.
  • Timberline High School, Boise.
  • Borah High School, Boise.
  • Vallivue High School, Caldwell.
  • Capital High School, Boise.
  • Century High School, Pocatello.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews uses a simple metric to measure challenging high schools. He divides the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests a high school administers, by its number of graduates.

Coeur d'Alene Charter
Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy

Schools made the list by scoring at least a 1.0 — that is, at least one advanced test per graduate. Riverstone International, a private school in Boise, scored a 5.889, tops in the state.

Riverstone is the lone newcomer to the list. The other eight schools made the Washington Post lists in 2014 and 2015.

Meanwhile, two Idaho high schools fell off the list for 2016: Renaissance High School in Meridian and Wood River in Hailey.

For this year’s list, Mathews also looked at the poverty rates for schools that made the cut — looking at the percentage of students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Only one Idaho school had a poverty rate above Idaho’s statewide average is 49 percent; Vallivue had a 63 percent poverty rate.

For more about the rankings, here’s a blog post from Boise district Superintendent Don Coberly.




Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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