And now, for some good, if not unexpected news: In its annual report ranking American high schools, U.S. News & World Report identified La Cañada High School among the top in its class.
Out of more than 22,000 high schools evaluated nationwide, LCHS came in 147th. In California, LCHS ranked 18th overall and fifth-best among public schools, its best result since at least 2012, according to the publication.
Governing Board President Dan Jeffries liked what he saw when he looked at the numbers, but he actually saw something more: “Of all the public schools that are above us, none of those are open-enrollment type of schools. So, in a lot of ways, we are the No. 1 open-enrollment high school in the state.”
“It’s phenomenal,” he added, “to have that kind of ranking because you would expect a school that is selective in its admission to do well, rather than a school that takes anyone who lives in our district.”
According to U.S. News & World Report’s tabulations, the top high school in the state is Pacific Collegiate Charter School in Santa Cruz. The top public high school in the state is Oxford Academy in Cypress.
Like Oxford Academy, the next three public high schools — Whitney High School in Cerritos, Lowell High School in San Francisco and Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego — all currently also have or have had selection processes, although Canyon Crest draws from a pool of students determined by zip code.
U.S. News & World Report has been publishing high school rankings since 2007, using a methodology that includes state test scores, schools’ performance on Advanced Placement exams, college preparedness as well as the success of economically disadvantaged students. Since 2016, it’s incorporated graduation rates into its calculations.
With a student population of 2,102 this time, LCHS boasted a graduation rate of 99% and an AP participation rate of 82%.
Although it’s had positive showings before on the U.S. News list, LCHS — twice a nationally recognized-Blue Ribbon school — had not cracked the top-25 in California since 2013, when it ranked No 154 nationally and No. 23 in the state.
These sorts of ratings are important, Jeffries said.
“When you have an outside group confirm what you’ve always believed, it’s nice to have that affirmation,” he said. “We think we have a great high school and U.S. News & World Report is saying the same thing.”
In its evaluation of the best STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schools, the publication also ranked LCHS high — 87th in the nation, seventh in the state overall, and fifth among California’s public high schools.
To be included in the STEM rankings, a public high school had to have been among the top 500 nationally ranked schools. Those schools were judged on their level of math and science participation and success, according to AP STEM data for 2015 graduates as the benchmark for the analysis.
Elsewhere locally, Crescenta Valley High School ranked 74th in the state, 421st nationally and 178th among STEM schools.
San Marino High School rated 23rd in California, 168th nationally, eighth among the state’s public schools and 56th in the country among STEM schools.
For more information, visit usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.