SMUSD Schools Ranked High in Latest Polls

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San Marino Unified School District has earned itself a fan in school and neighborhood data analysis website Niche.com.
The Pittsburgh-based operation listed SMUSD as the No. 7 school district in all of California and the No. 2 district in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, giving the district top marks in academics, its teaching staff and the college readiness of its students (quantified by an A+ rating). It also earned an A in both health and safety and in administration, a B+ in diversity, food and resources and facilities, a B- in clubs and activities and a C+ in sports.
Superintendent Alex Cherniss said he was proud to add to the list of accolades that SMUSD has earned throughout the years. The district routinely ranks among the best in the state in standardized test scores and evaluation.
“It’s always great to see recognition for the work we do,” he said. “We know that we are the highest achieving, academically, in the state of California. We just focus on the work we do.”
Each of the four schools ranked in the Top 10 of their categories for the L.A. area and placed among the top tiered of their types of schools statewide as well.

Best Public Middle Schools in L.A. Metro Area
Best Public Middle Schools in L.A. Metro Area

Huntington Middle School, notably, was ranked as the top middle school in the L.A. area and the No. 5 middle school in the state.
“We at HMS are proud of the accolades earned via this organization,” HMS Principal Jason Kurtenbach said in an email. “Through their surveys of those who have attended our school as well as the review of the academic prowess, as well as its review of our diversity, facilities, parent involvement and safety, they have come to the conclusion that those who live in and are from San Marino have always known. We are a strong community with a terrific set of schools and people who are always willing to grow and change in order to meet the needs of the students whom we are sending off into the world.”
Valentine Elementary School ranked as the No. 4 elementary school in the L.A. area and the No. 19 elementary school in California. Valentine Elementary Principal Colleen Shields said she was pleased her school was well received in an evaluation metric that factors in more than just academics.
“We often get recognized for academics, but I think we’re very well-rounded here at Valentine,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized for those qualities as well.”

Best Public Elementary Schools in L.A. Metro Area
Best Public Elementary Schools in L.A. Metro Area

Carver Elementary School wasn’t too far behind its sibling, placing at No. 8 in L.A. area elementary schools and No. 23 in the state’s elementary schools. Carver Elementary Principal Michael Lin said he wasn’t surprised by this evaluation and lauded the community’s support of its schools as a significant factor in their strong performance.

Jason Kurtenbach Huntington Principal, Colleen Shields Valentine Principal, Michael Lin Carver Principal
Jason Kurtenbach – Huntington Principal, Colleen Shields – Valentine Principal, Michael Lin – Carver Principal

“That’s awesome,” he said. “The credit really goes to our phenomenal teachers and support staff and our students who are really well-nurtured. I’m not just saying this because I’m the principal of Carver.”
San Marino High School was rated as the No. 8 high school in the L.A. area and the No. 27 high school in California. More specifically, Niche.com had SMHS ranked No. 14 out of 1,202 high schools in terms of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) offerings and No. 30 out of 1,509 high schools in terms of college readiness.
Niche.com began as a college evaluator that produced guidebooks in 2002 under the name “College Prowler” before it shifted online and also graded and rated grade schools and places to live. These rankings were part of Niche.com’s annual K-12 school rankings, which have been produced for three years now.
The San Marino rankings cited were relative to public schools. Niche.com also ranks private schools separately.
For more detailed information on the schools’ evaluations, visit niche.com.

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