It’s report card time, and four Dallas high schools have made the grade, earning top 100 spots in this year’s prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings of the Best U.S. High Schools. One even merited a special distinction.
Dallas' School for the Talented and Gifted is the highest-ranked Texas school on the list, earning a spot at No. 13 (slightly down from No. 6 last year). It’s followed closely by Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School at No. 15 (down from No. 10 last year).
The Science and Engineering Magnet School comes in at No. 39 overall this year, and is also ranked No. 3 nationally among schools that specialize in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). It is the only Texas school to earn a top five ranking in a special category.
For the second year in a row, the trio of schools are also the top three in Texas, the report says.
Joining them in the national top 100 are Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, which comes in at No. 59. All four schools are in the Dallas ISD.
The 2021 edition is U.S. News’ most comprehensive survey yet, with the consumer advice outlet evaluating more than 17,800 public high schools on how well they serve all of their students, regardless of economic or ethnic background.
To determine rankings, they focus on six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth, and graduation rates. College readiness specifically measures participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams.
Notably, the data used in this edition is from the 2018-2019 academic school year, so it was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Families can use the Best High Schools rankings to see how schools compare at the national, state and local level on factors like graduation rates and college readiness," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, in a statement. "The rankings also provide insight into academic performance among underserved groups showing how well schools are supporting these students."
Eight more Texas schools also appear on the national top 100 list:
- No. 41, Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin
- No. 42, Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston
- No. 46, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Houston
- No. 68, IDEA Frontier College Preparatory, Brownsville
- No. 89, Challenge Early College High School, Houston
- No. 96, Health Careers High School, San Antonio
- No. 97, Young Women’s College Prep Academy, Houston
- No. 98, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Austin
Just over the top 100 threshold is Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, coming in at No. 101.
Texas had 1,524 schools ranked this year, of which 42 placed in the top 5 percent, 79 in the top 10 percent, and 157 in the top 25 percent nationally.
Statewide, the top 10 highest ranking schools were:
- The School for the Talented and Gifted (TAG), Dallas
- Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, Dallas
- Science and Engineering Magnet School (SEM), Dallas
- Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), Austin
- Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston
- DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Houston
- Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, Dallas
- IDEA Frontier College Preparatory, Brownsville
- Challenge Early College High School, Houston
- Health Careers High School, San Antonio
So, which school throughout the country ranks as this year’s valedictorian? Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia was deemed the best in the country, as well as among magnet schools. Read the full report and search for schools here.