Newsweek’s controversial Top Public High Schools list shows Pacific Collegiate at #39 (vs #13 in 2008 and “Public Elite” status in 2007). Given that the list measures the number of students taking AP courses, and all students at PCS are required to take AP courses, it simply measures that yes, students are taking the required courses. There are some interesting new aspects to the list, including up and coming schools working with students in poverty, challenging low achieving students to demand more of themselves. The methodology used by Jay Matthews to compile the list has stirred controversy as long as the list has been published. What it does accomplish is the generation of thoughtful conversations about what it means to challenge students and how to best support them in meeting their academic goals. Further, it brings attention to schools and programs like SCCS’ AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) that bring underrepresented groups into college prepartory programs – attention that should be applauded as comprehensive public schools struggle financially while retaining their mission to serve all students.