The U.S. News and World Report has ranked Bemidji High School as the 22nd best high school in Minnesota based on Advanced Placement exam scores and reading and match MCA test scores.
Teachers at the school say one of the reasons for their success is the school’s focus on AP classes. Terry Hewitt, an AP Calculus teacher, said, “We’ve realized that in order to do well we have to challenge them, and the tool we use for AP classes is one of the reasons for that success.”
The students credit their success in college readiness to building strong relationships with their teachers. Senior Matt Breeze said, “Teachers will really encourage you, especially your freshmen and sophomore year. They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re doing well in the regular class, you should try AP.’”
Even though the students and staff say that taking AP classes is important, they believe the community actually plays a crucial role in building a foundation for its students. AP teacher and coordinator Jeff Aas said, “The elementary schools, middle schools, everybody has a part to play in this. He continued, “They’re building critical thinking skills, writing skills, reading skills, and by the time they get up to meet the high school those skills are developed.”
The students admit that the ranking has inspired them to keep up their hard work. Breeze said, “I’m a student athlete as well as taking a lot of hard classes, so it really encourages me to do my best.” Another student, Abby Lindseth, said she was proud just be part of a program that’s receiving recognition.
Other schools that made the list this year were Lake of the Woods Secondary,26, Brainerd Senior High, 28, and Blackduck Secondary, 39.