MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a city school of 1,700 students, Minneapolis Southwest High School’s principal Bill Smith walks the hallways with a sense of pride — his institution was named Minnesota’s top public high school by the U.S. News & World Report.

And it’s the third straight year Southwest has received top honors.

“The students are stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘Yes, we want to be the best we can be,'” Smith said. “And so we’re seeing achievement across the line.”

The U.S. News & World Report evaluates test scores and college readiness of 22,000 public high schools across the country. Of those, only 500 are honored with the magazine’s gold medal for education.

Southwest’s continued success is largely due to its commitment to an International Baccalaureate program. IB students are prepared for the critical thinking that’s required at the college level.

“It’s hard to come from a city school,” said Sorcha McGuire, senior class president. “Sometimes we get looked down upon.”

However, McGuire said suburban schools are now taking notice of Southwest’s success. She believes supportive teachers are to thank.

“I think we have a really awesome group of teachers that come to work every day and work with us,” McGuire said. “I’ve been blessed with awesome teachers all throughout my four years at Southwest.”

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