Half of Idaho’s 2017 National Merit semi-finalists attend Boise schools

Boise High School has 24 National Merit Scholar semi-finalists for 2017.
Boise High School has 24 National Merit Scholar semi-finalists for 2017.

Boise School District usually has about 25 to 30 percent of the state’s National Merit Scholar semi-finalists. But this year, it took a big jump to 50 percent.

Boise District has 47 semi-finalists from 95 statewide.

The district accounts for 9 percent of the state’s public school enrollment.

Scoring is based on student results in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. Boise District gives the test twice: once in the sophomore year, as required by the state, and once in the junior year, when the test is used to determine semifinalists. In-between the district uses results “to put a little extra work in,” said Don Coberly, district superintendent.

West Ada School District had 11 students, Vallivue School District and Bishop Kelly High School each had one. Semi-finalists are all seniors. To see Boise’s semi-finalists, click here.

“Only 1 percent of students nationwide achieve National Merit semi-finalist status,” Coberly said in a statement. “The Boise School District is committed to providing the advanced, rigorous coursework and highly skilled teachers students need to earn this recognition.”

More that 1.6 million juniors were in the running to be semi-finalists from some 22,000 high schools.

Semifinalists are eligible to compete as National Merit Scholars for 7,500 scholarships totaling a combined $33 million.