It will come as no surprise to those familiar with La Cañada High School, but U.S. News & World Report has once again named LCHS as one of the best in the state and nation, according to the publication’s 2019 Best High Schools Rankings list.
U.S. News rated LCHS at No. 26 in California and No. 218 in the nation, compared to its position at 39th in the state and 249th in the nation in the 2018 rankings. The evaluations continually measure performance on state-required tests and how well schools prepare students for college.
Other nearby schools that placed in the publication’s top 100 in the state include San Marino High School at No. 48, South Pasadena High School at No. 87 and Crescenta Valley High School at No. 89. The first- and second-ranked schools in the state, respectively, are Whitney High School in Cerritos and Oxford Academy in Cypress.
According to the publication, its 2019 rankings take a holistic approach to evaluating schools, looking at six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates. Specifically, college readiness measures participation and performance on AP and IB exams.
It gave LCHS an “overall scorecard” of 98.74, with 78% of students taking at least one AP exam, 89% of the test-takers passing at least one AP exam, 79% proficient in math, 86% proficient in reading, and an overall graduation rate of 98%. The school marked an average student-to-teacher ratio of 24:1.
La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette noted that while rankings accolades are always nice to receive, the district strives to embody more than numbers on a chart.
“I am very pleased with these outstanding rankings which recognize the stellar efforts of students, teachers and staff in the teaching and learning process at LCHS,” Sinnette said. “Even more important, though, is that it is reflective — in part — of our priorities, namely to ensure that we remain a high-performing high school, but that we continue to develop programs to support student and staff wellness, resiliency and empathy, all within a climate of care and respect. We have much work to do, but I am very proud of LCHS and know that recognition like we just received in the U.S. News & World Report rankings is a community effort involving the commitment of all stakeholders.”
This year, the publication undertook a new methodology, assigning weights to the six factors and then producing an overall score on which the ranking is based — as compared with the previous methodology, which involved a four-step process in which the final step used college readiness as the sole basis to determine a school’s numerical rank.
“We enhanced the methodology to provide an even more comprehensive ranking that is easier to understand and, therefore, more useful to parents and educators,” said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News. “Now, each school’s score correlates to its national percentile — a school with a score of 70 is in the 70th percentile and ranks higher than 70% of schools. Going forward, this methodology will allow for intuitive comparisons of a school’s performance year after year.”
U.S. News also said it revamped its annual education rankings to provide the most comprehensive evaluation of America’s public high schools ever, numerically ranking more than 17,000 schools nationwide — up from last year’s 2,700 schools. The publication teamed with RTI International, a nonprofit social science research firm. The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 23,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“Our mission with the Best High Schools rankings has always been to educate families about the schools in their district,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students — including historically underserved populations.”
For more information, visit usnews.com/education.