Stockdale High School has been ranked among Newsweek magazine's "best high schools" in the country based on how hard school staff work to challenge students with advanced-placement college-level courses and tests.

Stockdale ranked 1,199 out of 1,600 high schools chosen, which represents only 6 percent of all public schools in the United States, according to Newsweek rankings released this week. It was the only Kern County high school listed.

Principal Ramon Hendrix said Stockdale is grateful for being chosen, and credits the school district for offering challenging courses at the school, teachers for challenging students, and students for working hard.

"They all do an excellent job," Hendrix said.

Of Stockdale, Newsweek writes: "Now in its 20th year, with approximately 2,100 students enrolled, has an API of 803, and Stockdale has earned a reputation in the community and around the state as a school that meets the needs of all students.

"Sixty-four sections of GATE, Honors and Advanced Placement classes are offered for the college-bound. For students interested in career pathways, four options are available, including Arts, Media and Communication, Health Science and Medical Technology, Information Technology, and Business and Finance. The school motto is 'Branded by Excellence'."

Stockdale was also the only Kern school ranked in 2008 (924) and in 2009 (1,108). No Kern schools were ranked by Newsweek in 2006 and 2007.

Four Kern schools, however, enroll more students in AP courses, and have more students take the tests, than Stockdale: Foothill High, Golden Valley, Ridgeview High and Bakersfield High, according to recent state data.

The top-ranked school according to Newsweek is Talented and Gifted in Dallas. The top California school ranked 11 overall -- Oxford Academy in Cypress.

For more on the rankings, including methodology, go to www.newsweek.com.