IDEA Public Schools Ranked Among the Best in the Nation from The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (April 19, 2016)

This week, numerous schools within the IDEA Public Schools network were ranked among the best and top performing schools in the nation by both The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.  

For the second consecutive year, IDEA Public Schools has been included in The Washington Post national school rankings, and this is the eighth consecutive year IDEA will be represented in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, reflecting the rigor and success of IDEA’s college-going culture.

In The Washington Post’s annual ranking of America’s Most Challenging High Schools, six IDEA Public Schools high schools were ranked among the most challenging in the nation.  More than 22,000 public high schools across the country were analyzed in order to determine the ranking.  Specifically, The Washington Post analyzed the number of students who participated in Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests in relation to the overall size of the high schools graduating class.  The Washington Post index considers college test participation a better measure of school success than test scores.

All of IDEA’s eligible College Prep high schools were ranked in the top 200 most challenging high schools nationwide (and in the top 40 in Texas) including:

• IDEA Mission – 11th (4th in Texas),
• IDEA Frontier – 15th (5th in Texas),
• IDEA San Benito – 16th (6th in Texas),
• IDEA Quest – 17th (7th in Texas),
• IDEA San Juan – 28th (12th in Texas),
• IDEA Alamo – 43rd (16th in Texas),
• IDEA Donna – 106th (33rd in Texas)

In the U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of best high schools in the nation, five of IDEA Public Schools received a gold medal ranking for college readiness and high rankings on the list.

To calculate their list of the top performing public high schools in the nation, U.S. News and World Report examined college-readiness data including reading and math proficiency, academic achievement of disadvantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income) in comparison to state averages, and rates of participation in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate testing.

The IDEA Public Schools’ high schools that received a Gold or Silver Medal ranking from U.S. News and World Report include:

• IDEA Frontier - 79th National Gold Medal (15th in Texas), 
• IDEA Quest - 84th National Gold Medal (16th in Texas),
• IDEA San Juan – 112th National Gold Medal (20th in Texas),
• IDEA Mission – 187th National Gold Medal (31st in Texas),
• IDEA San Benito - 405th National Gold Medal (56th in Texas),
• IDEA Donna - 560th National Silver Medal (67th in Texas)

The rankings reflect IDEA’s unique College Success Model—an integrated mix of classes, activities, and events that include individualized instruction at the Academy level, pre-AP courses starting in 6th grade, and a full complement of college counseling, workshops, and college campus experiences throughout high school.

“Each year, we are developing and coaching our campus leaders and teachers to become the best teachers in the nation for our students,” said Tom Torkelson, Founder and CEO of IDEA Public Schools. “When we started IDEA 16 years ago, we aimed to be the most rigorous in our state because we knew it was the way to get our students to and through college. These national rankings help us know we are on the right track.”

“IDEA’s commitment to ensuring all of their students enter college, regardless of their economic background, serves as a national model for how best to educate some of our nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Nina Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We congratulate IDEA Public Schools for being recognized once again by the Washington Post and US News and World Report as some of the nation’s top performing schools, and for continuing to produce high results for their students.” 

To learn more about IDEA Public Schools, contact Vanessa Barry at 512-657-5461 or

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