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Four Pasadena Unified High Schools Placed On Top High Schools List

For Immediate Release:
Aug. 28, 2017

Four Pasadena Unified High Schools Placed On Top High Schools List

Pasadena, CA -- All four of the Pasadena Unified School District’s comprehensive high schools - Blair School, John Muir High School, Marshall Fundamental, and Pasadena High School - have for the first time been placed on America’s Most Challenging High Schools 2017 list by The Washington Post. The list annually ranks how successfully schools challenge their students to take advanced and college-level classes.  Only 12 percent of the nation’s high schools qualify for the honor.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment for our high schools and our district, and I congratulate the students, faculty and staff, families, and supportive communities of each of these schools for their great work,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “To have all four PUSD comprehensive high schools named to the America’s Most Challenging High Schools list is a validation of the phenomenal programs and high quality education offered to all students in PUSD so that they can succeed in college and careers.  Congratulations to everyone!”

Schools are ranked by the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. Public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.00, that had as many tests as they had graduates, were put on the national list. Schools are ranked in the order of that ratio.

Marshall Fundamental ranked 318; Pasadena High School ranked 1,350; Blair High School, which offers the International Baccalaureate Programme, ranked 1,404. John Muir, new to the list in 2017, ranked 1,512.

Pasadena Unified high schools offer college and career academies that link students’ passion with what they learn throughout their high school career.  Themed academies include Engineering and Environmental Science, the App Academy, Creative Industries, and Health Careers. Students in the academies take courses that meet college admission requirements; develop plans for post-secondary career and education; complete work-based learning or capstone research projects; and obtain college credit and/or college credit and/or a nationally-recognized professional certification. For more information on Pasadena Unified’s college and career academies, visit

The Washington Post’s Challenge Index is designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests. The 2017 list.

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