One Austin high school deserves a tip of the cap (or mortarboard) after earning high marks for excellence. On June 12, U.S. News & World Report released its annual Best U.S. High Schools by metro area, ranking the best public schools in each major city.
The prestigious Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy, which earned the No. 28 spot out of ... wait for it ... more than 17,000 institutions across the country back in April, was unsurprisingly declared the best school in Austin.
To determine the country's best schools, U.S. News ranked each school using six metrics, applying different weights to each category:
- college readiness (30 percent)
- math and reading proficiency (20 percent)
- math and reading performance (20 percent)
- underserved service (10 percent)
- college curriculum breadth (10 percent)
- graduation rate (10 percent)
Based on the above, LASA, as it is better known, earned an outstanding 99.84 (or, an A-plus in high school lingo). The Northeast Austin school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and reading and math proficiency. One hundred percent of LASA students took an AP exam last year, and 98 percent passed at least one advanced class.
As the report notes, despite being part of the Austin Independent School District, LASA students must apply or be recruited by the school, adding to its prestige.
"The school's classes are designed to be more challenging than what the state and district require. LASA offers signature courses, which are collaborative group classes where students research, design, implement, and present projects in various science and humanities subjects," writes U.S. News.
Overall, LASA ranked No. 1 in Austin, ahead of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (No. 2 in Austin, 137th nationally), and KIPP Austin Collegiate (No. 3 in Austin, 198th nationally).
Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas dominated the national and statewide list. That city's Science and Engineering Magnet School earned the 12th spot nationally and the No. 1 spot in Dallas (and Texas for that matter). SEM earned an overall score of 99.93. It also racked up 100 percent across each major metric, including graduation rate, reading and math proficiency, and students taking AP exams.
Dallas' School for the Talented and Gifted earned the No. 2 spot in Dallas (16th nationally), followed by Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School in the No. 3 spot (63rd nationally).
Two Houston schools also placed in the top 30. DeBakey High School for Health Professions ranked No. 17 in the U.S., averaging a highly respectable 99.9 overall. Like SEM, DeBakey earned 100 percent across each major metric, making it the third best high school in the Lone Star State.
Carnegie Vanguard High School earned the No. 2 spot in Houston, 24th nationally, followed by Eastwood Academy at No. 3 locally, 97th nationally.
Young Women's Leadership Academy is at the top of the class in the Alamo City. In addition to earning top marks for academics, the school is notably comprised of mostly students of color — 97 percent.
Located on the Northwest Side, the academy has an overall score of 99.18, complete with a 100 percent graduation rate and mathematics proficiency rate. Reading proficiency is at 98 percent. Though 100 percent of students taking AP exams, just 61 percent pass, which perhaps accounts for the academy not placing higher nationally (it's currently No. 20 in Texas, and 141st nationally).
YWLA is joined by Health Careers High School at No. 2 in San Antonio, 165th nationally, and International School of America, ranked No. 3 locally, 491st nationally.