President Obama, Department of Education Announce Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge Finalists

WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–April 9, 2010.   The White House and the Department of Education announced today the six high schools selected as finalists for the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. The Commencement Challenge, launched in late February, invited the nation’s public high schools to submit applications showing their dedication to providing students with an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Applications were judged based on the schools performance, four essay questions and supplemental data. The six finalists were selected for their dedication to academic excellence and for showing how they are helping prepare students to graduate college and career ready, and prepared to meet the President’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.


  • Blue Valley Northwest High School (Overland Park, Kansas)
  • Clark Montessori Junior High and High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Denver School of Science and Technology (Denver, Colorado)
  • Environmental Charter High School (Lawndale, California)
  • Kalamazoo Central High School (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
  • MAST Academy (Miami, Florida)

“I thank all of the schools that submitted applications for the first Commencement Challenge and I congratulate the six finalists for demonstrating effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career,” said President Obama. “The quality of the applications we received is a testament to the exciting work happening in schools throughout the country, and I look forward to visiting and speaking at the winning school later this spring.”

“These six schools represent just a few of the stories of success that are happening all across the country,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  “We won’t accomplish the President’s national goal of leading the world in college completion by 2020 without the hard work and dedication of the school leaders, teachers and students exemplified by our six final high schools.”

Over the next few weeks, each school’s students will work with The Get Schooled Foundation, which includes Viacom and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among its founding partners,   to create a short video highlighting how the school best fulfills the Challenge’s criteria.  The six videos, along with portions of each school’s written application, will be featured on the White House website in the coming weeks and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal.  The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and will visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement later this spring.

Watch a video of the schools being notified of their selection on Thursday, April 8, 2010.