It’s report card time, and two Austin 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.
Austin's Liberal Arts and Science Academy earns the No. 41 spot in the nation and is the fourth highest-ranked Texas school on the list. It received an overall score of 99.77 and also ranks No. 60 nationally among schools that specialize in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
It's followed by the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, which ranks 98th in the U.S., 12th in Texas, and earned an overall score of 99.45. Both schools are part of the Austin Independent School District.
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."
Ten more Texas schools also appear on the national top 100 list:
- No. 13, School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas
- No. 15, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, Dallas
- No. 39, The Science and Engineering Magnet School, Dallas
- No. 42, Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston
- No. 46, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Houston
- No. 59, Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, Dallas
- 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
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.