Local High Schools Recognized Nationally

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Newsweek magazine is recognizing five Washoe County High Schools as leading the nation in preparing kids for college.

According to the magazine Reno, McQueen, Galena, Wooster, and Incline high schools are in the top 3% of schools in the nation.

Newsweek ranked 737 schools nationwide, based on the ratio of Advanced Placement - or International Baccalaureate exams given - to the size of the graduating class.

This trigonometry/pre-calculus class at Reno High School is one of dozens of A.P. classes here at Reno High. Each A.P. class gives juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credit.

In many cases these kids will be able to "test out" of several core curriculum college classes.

"I feel that the teachers prepared us pretty well. But, I feel they're one of the toughest tests that we've taken," says student Chris Jackson.

Jackson is planning to go to Princeton University next year. He's taken four A.P. tests in recent weeks.

And he's not alone.

About 299 Reno High School students took 526 AP tests this year. According to AP English teacher Tom Meschery, he only expects to see two or three of his 70 students fail.

"These students are motivated. They want to go to the best colleges, they're highly competitive themselves," Meschery says.

According to Meschery's students, the secret is good teaching.

"I think they give us a pretty good idea of how hard the work is going to be in college and make the transition easier," says student Katie McGrath..

But, Meschery says, three things set these students apart and, he says, it often starts with great parents.

"I suspect these young people have a lot of support at home first. And then they are highly motivated themselves, and then they have tremendous teachers," he says.

According to the school district, no more than 10 school districts in the nation have as many schools on the list as Washoe County.

Of the 737-schools Newsweek ranked, the Washoe County schools ranked as follows:

* Reno High - 244
* Incline High - 286
* McQueen High 354
* Wooster High 621
* Galena High 692