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US News Releases 2014 Best High Schools Ranking

US News’s sought-after list of the Best High Schools of the year came out a few days ago—the list, which aims to help parents and students evaluate which schools offer the best programs for their students was made in cooperation with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a D.C.-based organization which is dedicated to evaluating schools and their progress. The AIR’s evaluation process of high schools doesn’t deal purely with academics; it also takes into consideration the way that students from different socioeconomic classes interact, how students from racial minorities are treated and how efficiently students were helped to prepare for major exams like the AP and the IBs.

The title of the number 1 high school in the country went to the Dallas-based School for the Talented and Gifted (TAG). This is their third consecutive year as US News’s top school: this owes mostly to the school’s 11 AP courses and their partnership with local universities that allows students to partner up for field research during summer terms. Furthermore, minority students make up the majority of the population at TAG. Also, despite the fact that most of the students come from low-income families, the average grade rating for TAG is very high.

The Arizona-based BASIS Scottsdale came in second on the list. They were only ranked fifth on the 2013 version of the list. They traded places with a fellow-Arizona school, the BASIS Tucson North high school which moved down from second to fifth place.

Other schools in the top ten which have joined TAG in the list of forerunners in previous years include the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Georgia and the Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia—ranking third and fourth  respectively, for the second year in a row.  Also included was the Pine View school in Florida, which held onto its sixth place rank from last year.

There have also been a good number of new comers to the US News list this year. These include the University High School in Arizona, ranked seventh; the International Academy in Michigan, ranked ninth and the Oxford Academy in California, ranked tenth. The School of Science and Engineering Magnet, which ranked third in 2012 but was absent from the top ten in 2013, comes back in eight place this year.

The list has found that the charter and magnet schools account for the top 155 of the list of 500 top schools. These schools usually limit their students via a lottery or application process—in particular, the magnet schools choose their students by grades, thus ensuring a high average grading. Because of this, the US News and AIR team have also come up with category-specific rankings.

BASIS Scottsdale, Gwinnet and BASIS Tucson North topped the Best Charter Schools ranking. Also included on this list were the Signature School in Indiana and the International Studies Charter High School in Florida. The Best Magnet Schools ranks were given to TAG, Florida’s Stanton College Preparatory School, the Maine School of Math and Science and Connecticut’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering.

US News is also going to be releasing updates on the best high schools throughout the year on their website, including a section of their blog called High School Notes.

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