U.S. News & World Report deemed Whitman the best high school in Maryland and the 111th highest-ranked high school in the country in its annual rankings for the 2020–2021 school year.
Whitman ousted Poolesville High School from its number one position in U.S. News’ Maryland ranking last year. In selecting the nation’s top high schools, U.S News analyzed schools’ graduation rates, the percentages of students who earn qualifying scores on tests like AP exams and students’ performances on statewide math and literacy assessments. In Maryland, U.S. News evaluated the PARCC exam for the latter measure.
For Whitman administrators, the state and national rankings are both considerable and gratifying achievements for the school.
“The number one ranking is a testament first and foremost to our students and the effort and time they dedicate to achieving in school,” Principal Robby Dodd wrote in an email to The Black & White. “I’m so proud of how our school continues to develop and excel.”
Some students, on the other hand, are skeptical of the “best” state high school designation. For many, the rankings seem arbitrary and illogical.
“It’s cool, but schools often rise and fall in these rankings for no real reason,” senior Toby Goldberg said. “There’s no way they can holistically examine all the schools in the rankings.”
Other students view the rankings as a facade of success that distracts from the frequent instances of racism at Whitman.
“I don’t know if the rankings take culture into account, but based on the culture here, I don’t think we deserve the top ranking,” junior Isabel Ostheimer said. “I think administration is just going to use it as a ploy to say we’re an amazing school.”