The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Debunked: Is Annandale dumb?


Outside observers often think of AHS as the dumb school, the bad school or the ghetto school.

But how do current students feel about this stereotype?

“I think that, especially coming from a school like Frost which feeds into Woodson, I was scared about going to Annandale,” Class of 2024 President Semir Ali said. “But, coming here, I’ve found that a lot of us are very intelligent and talented students, whether that be in my math class, English class, or orchestra class.” 

While schools like Thomas Jefferson may leave AHS students comparing themselves to those students or feeling less than, it has to be understood that their academic standard is an outlier compared to other FCPS high schools.

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TJHSST is an ultra-competitive magnet school  with an ultra-rigorous cirriculum many steps higher than standard FCPS.

It is hard to measure the overall intelligence of a student body, but statistics from other high schools throughout FCPS like scores and class participation rates can be useful for figuring out where AHS falls on the performance scale. 

When comparing to other IB schools in FCPS, AHS is average. Both Justice and Lewis have lower proficiencies in reading and similar ones for sciences. Edison’s  proficiencies in science, math and reading are all higher than AHS.

The cause of these figures?

Minority and low-income students are often an overlooked factor when ranking schools by stats alone. 

Many students in schools like AHS, Justice, and Lewis, who rank lower than other high schools academically, often have jobs, home responsibilities, as well as speak English as a second language (29% language minority), and share similar studnet demographics.

When English is a second language for a large portion of the school, reading proficiency will not be as high as schools with higher populations of students with English as their first language. 

Separately, IB course participation can also help indicate a school’s academic standard and level of academic rigor.

“I definitely think that [IB] helps our standing [by] having a rigorous academic program. I think that most families are more aware of the AP system, but it’s just getting info out to them so they understand how competitive IB is and the rewards,” IB Coordinator Linda Bradshaw said. This year’s graduating class has seen the most IB candidates in recent years, sitting at 87 senior diploma candidates. A huge increase from last year’s 42, as well as years before COVID. 

The IB juniors are currently around 100 students, even higher than this year’s seniors. 

IB participation levels are on the rise, but why?

 “I’m doing more recruitment, getting more information out to students,” Bradshaw said, “I think students are recognizing the benefits of taking IB [regarding college], whether they are going for the full diploma or just taking the classes in general.”

50% of AHS students at least one IB exam, higher than both Justice and Lewis. Edison is 10% higher than AHS for IB exam participation. 

The many different types of IB courses also encourage students who may be weary of the harder courses to give it a shot. 

“I think that our teachers are increasingly providing more support and [scaffolding] to students that maybe in the past were hesitant to take an IB course,” Bradshaw said.

Are the IB courses hard enough? The answer is often yes. IB year 2 courses require students to take multiple exams, and write an Internal Assessment or Investigation, all on top of completing classwork assignments. 

 And that is just for one class. IB Diploma candidates take seven. So do these IB classes help or hurt student performance?

“Depends on the class,” Ali said.  “I think my IB English Literature class helped me with the literary analysis for the reading SAT and my IB Math Applications class helped with the math SAT.”

In an overall ranking of 30 high schools based on proficiency, college readiness, test scores, and graduation rates, AHS ranks 19th in the FCPS, among both IB and AP schools, according to USNews school reports. 

AHS has produced students who go on to do incredible things.

Many alumni have attended and are attending Ivy League universities such as Yale and Princeton. Other students have gone onto highly regarded schools for academic rigor like MIT and Georgetown.

AHS has good teachers, good classes, and good students. Many people will choose to focus on the weaknesses and overlook the strengths.

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About the Contributor
Morgan Milman
Morgan Milman, Academics Editor
Senior Morgan Milman is in her first year of journalism as the Academics Editor. She plays for the varsity volleyball team and dives for the swim & dive team. In her free time she likes to paint, read, hangout with friends; she plans to study environmental policy in college.

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