safe_image-1.phpThe Washington Post announced today its annual list of “the most challenging high schools” in the nation known as the Challenge Index National Rankings, and Apopka High School made the list. AHS is ranked #869 out of 22,000 eligible public schools in the United States.

Orange County had 15 high schools on the list.

Orlando Science Middle/High School led the way in Central Florida with a #77 ranking. The Challenge Index recognizes high schools that offer accelerated/challenging coursework to students. Schools achieve a high ranking if the number of accelerated assessments offered (including Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge) is much higher than the number of seniors that graduated that year.

Jay Mathews is an education columnist and blogger for The Washington Post. He is the author of seven books, including three about high schools. He created the annual Challenge Index rankings of high schools, has won several awards for education writing and was given the Upton Sinclair award as “a beacon of light in the realm of education.” He has won the Eugene Meyer Award for distinguished service to The Washington Post.

Those who think it is wrong for schools to require that all, or nearly all, students take Advanced Placement courses, have challenged his rankings, but Mathews pushes back on that assertion.widget_emblem_2016

“My view stems from hundreds of successful teachers I have interviewed who believe lack of progress in U.S. high school achievement is because so little is demanded in most classrooms,” he said in his article defending the rankings. “The list reveals growing numbers of schools that share this opinion and are taking even low-income students much further than before.”

Here is a link to Mathews’ education blog on The Washington Post’s website.


  1. I would rate Apopka High School as the # 1 Nation’s Most Challenging High School to live right next to! Loud band practice in the parking lot behind our homes, bright stadium lights on until late at night, traffic tied up early mornings, mid-mornings, afternoons, and sporting events times. Honking horns in the parking lot, squalling tires circling the parking lot even slamming into the light poles in the parking lot, loud speakers at the football field that drown out the tv in our living room, kids making a 3 lane road out of Maine Street, kids cutting the corners of the streets over the sidewalks in their vehicles, special events that go on well into the night with loud music, and the occasional hooky players drifting around our street. Manic drivers leaving school like race car drivers, and students throwing lots of school paper all over the roads when graduating. Also people coming from other high schools, parking all over our street, when coming to see the important play- off games at the football fields. Oh yeah, and other residents that don’t live right in this area, are invited to bring all of their hazardous chemicals over here, to the parking lot about once a year, to get rid of, compliments of Orange County, Florida. Mayor John Land wanted the Apopka High School to be re- built back out at Ponkan Road, near the North West Recreational Complex, when the school was going to be torn down, but NOOOOO, because some selfish people said this high school here, the one that was torn down formerly on this site, here on Martin and Maine Street, was a LEGACY, because one person, with an inflated ego, coached baseball at the high school here, that was torn down. Now that was ridiculous, and you know who you are! Hint: I am not referring to Sammy Ruth! It was not Sammy.

  2. So I’m guessing that u bought your home before the school was built. Well you want be complaining when it raises the value of your house. I went to APK and I have to say those were some of the best years in my life. You need to suck it up you was a kid once. Deal with it or move!!!!

  3. If you don’t like the area…move on! If you lived next to any other school, you would go through the same situation. Apopka is not the only parking lot that highlights senior parking spaces, or high school football games with bright lights and loud speakers,. You hear the same honking and cars screeching with or without being located near school. The fact that you mentioned early morning, mid morning, afternoons, and sorting event times….do you work or ever go anywhere. Maybe you need to get out a little and you wont complain so much. These are our youth….let them live a little …geesh

  4. We acquired and bought this home and moved in here in August of 1976, just after getting married. We had rented right after getting married and was at the rental practically no time, and bought this home. This is the second Apopka High School on this site over here. The first one built was, I am trying to remember, was probably built in 1976, I really can’t remember. We had another family member behind us in age and she graduated at the older Apopka Memorial High School, so therefore that makes this first one built in 1976, I believe. You can ask Ms. Christine Moore, she will know for sure. All these homes in Martin Place, Main Line, Maine Line Village, Summerset, where not here then. I was woods, and orange groves. Where the Ninth Grade Center and the Buchan Park of the City of Apopka is was fenced in and agricultural land and had Brahma bulls and cows out that with a big cattle gate. I used to go and give the cattle apples and carrots over the gates. There were not near as many students at the first school here as there are now. You do not understand as you do not live in over here, and put up with this school plus all the surrounding others. Apopka Highstudent….you is crazy, and wet behind the ears. You think you know it all, go get a job with a pest control and ride around in a car with a rat’s tail when you earn your master’s degree….ha ha!

  5. Dave Synder you are wrong. This home of ours was built here way before the first school was built over here, and I moved here in Aug. of 1976, and if I remember correctly it was brand new, just built or being built, and no, one can’t always move, contrary to what you state. Some people have certain circumstances in their lives that they can’t always pack up and move, and do they would prefer to do.

  6. Tina Hall, really do you honestly believe having a school next to you is a property value raiser? Tell me where to look exactly where you saw that info, as I would be interested. Anyway, property value increases only equals property tax increases if you aren’t packing up moving and selling. Tina, I am dealing with living over here, as I have no choice. It isn’t gonna keep me from complaining however, cause that is part of dealing with anything and coping. Do you understand? I went to Apopka too, and I am glad you enjoyed going there, and it was the best years of your life. They were not the best years of my life however.

  7. I am thinking of all of the different schools I attended over the years, and they are all gone! There is not a one left standing. To me that is sad. I graduated from Apopka Memorial High School which is now the Apopka Memorial Middle School. It was the last one on my list that I had attended that was bulldozed and re-built. Dream Lake Elementary was the last one left on my husband’s list of schools he had attended to be bull dozed. It saddens us, but that is the way it goes. A lot of the schools I attended did not even have air-conditioning, paved parking lots, and you sure didn’t have to pay for a permit to park there. A lot of the schools I went to had these radiator type heaters across the back of the huge school rooms with windows all across the back of the rooms, and in the winter, if you happened to touch your leg against those heaters, you would get burnt! I guess if that were now days, the parents would sue the school system, for millions.

  8. Back to discussing the current Apopka High School. I will say one positive thing about the school. Of all the new schools built around the area, Apopka High School is the best looking. I really like the way it looks compared to other schools. The blue paint is striped around is the icing on the cake, and is attractive.

  9. If anyone working at Apopka High School remembers my former neighbor, Pearl, who used to work over there at the school in the parking lot as student security, her husband just passed away.

  10. The person I am talking about that was hell-bent against the current Apopka High School being built out on Ponkan instead of built back on this same site, may have coached soft ball instead of baseball as I stated. Regardless, it was ball. Whatever. One is a bigger ball, duh. I ain’t getting technical as I don’t care if all the balls in Apopka landed in Lake Apopka and stayed there, and grew pond scum. Ha ha..

  11. Since I am feeling particularly vengeful of all the crap I put up with living over here at the Apopka High School, let’s talk schools. You will not get positive feed-back here on this posting, so if you are easily offended then DEAL WITH IT! and SUCK IT UP!, as you will be older one day, not 16, and I hope the heck YOU live right here next to this school yourself. The first Apopka High over here used to keep the grounds in much better shape regarding picking up litter and hauling off debris. There are times this school here trims tree limbs, and piles them up across the frontage of the school and leaves the huge piles for months at a time before hauling the debris off. It looks bad, when driving by. I walked by the frontage, and have seen trash there that is not being picked up. One day I spotted a Taco Bell box opened out and decided to see how many days before it was picked up . Yes, I know you love me. That box was there for well over a month! The workers mowing even some how managed to mow around it, but did not move it, or run over it! Right near the road where the teachers enter. The school had some type of band practice or event out there in the parking lot awhile back, and I mean it was hot! Scorching hot! The students were out there a very long time and I fully expected someone to fall out from the heat on the black pavement. I thought, are they trying to kill them off? Why couldn’t they at least have them somewhere on a grassy area that was not as hot? It was LOUD, and I was not in band, so I don’t know about that subject, but they hit these pipes for timing or something, I don’t know, and it drives me crazy, and if you heard it all day for days you would understand not to mention how loud the music was, but I did enjoy the music. Anyway, they had portable open out tables set up along the fence in front along the road, Martin Street, and ice and drinks, cups, etc. I guess one of their tables got messed up, broken, and damaged. The band people tossed it over the fence, and left it there out by the road, and did not put it on the back of a truck, and drive it over to the dumpster. Where is the Darter pride? Then the thing sat there for weeks and weeks, until it was picked up. Apopka Elementary has just been re-built and I visited. It looks okay. Nicer inside than out, in my opinion, but why is that school not fenced in? They are removing fencing down here at Dream Lake School that is being re-built, and putting new fencing, but why is there no fencing in at Apopka Elementary School. Sex predators all around and no fencing. Does not make sense. You want me to continue……??????

  12. Are they planning on landscaping Apopka Elementary or have they stuck a fork in it and it is done? It looks bare. Apopka High has plentiful landscaping and it looks nice.

  13. “Apopka begins with an A and ends with an A.” That is the mayor’s program. Living over here next to the Apopka High School everyday begins with an a, an asprin, and ends with an a, an asprin.

  14. Also when we bought our home and moved in Aug. 1976, back down behind where the football stadium is, to the north, was a very large chicken farm, and none of the homes were back in there. That is, the subdivisions. The Pines of Wekiva homes were not there either. Vick Road was unpaved. Basically the area was agricultural. Apopka Terrace was the main subdivision around here then.

  15. The original school on that site was opened January 1976. I was in the first graduating class. So many of us don’t think about the impact we make on the neighbors around the schools. I can see that it is a real trial living through all that racket day and night without much hope if escape. It is hard seeing the way of life we thought we would have when we move into the home of our dreams, with the love our lives, turning into a nightmare as you head into your golden years.
    So glad you were able to vent as well as share positive comments.

  16. Thank you Valerie. I remember that the McLeods lived down the road at Martin and Vick, and Coach Johnson lived with his family in one of two houses along where the school frontage is now. Thanks for the info, it is hard to remember the dates, but I remember the way it was then, as compared to now. So we both are Darters…….Go Darters!!!

  17. Well Tenita Reid, I graduated this year. I live next to the school too. I understand you’re annoyed how loud the band is, students racing in the parking lot etc. I do too sometimes but only when there’s a baseball game. Other than that, I enjoy the school and love the Darter pride the school portrays. You can remember your old days all you want but understand this is the 21st generation. Students will ALWAYS be loud. You probably can’t move but you can always just block the noise out.


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