LCHS Receives an A+ Despite Slight Drop in Rank


Neighborhood research website has listed La Cañada High School as the No. 7 public high school in Los Angeles County and No. 24 in California.
Those are enviable positions, but they represent a slight dip from LCHS’ status last year, when the website ranked LCHS No. 5 in the county and No. 18 in the state.
It was a similar story for the La Cañada Unified School District, which ranked fourth among the best school districts in L.A. County but last year was No. 1. The district is ninth in the state this time, compared with third last year. LCUSD and LCHS each received an overall A+, however.
“I feel like on all of the factors we’re very aware and attending to our performance and I think doing really good work,” said LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
Niche uses a combination of factors in compiling its rankings. They include academics, teachers, culture and diversity, and parent/student surveys on experience, according to the website. The rankings are primarily based on academics, with other categories given less weight.
“It’s comprehensive, but not every category or factor I would say is research based,” Sinnette said.
The No. 1-ranked public high school in the county is California Academy of Mathematics & Science in Carson, a magnet school. Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates is second and San Marino High School is third. The top-ranked high school in the state is Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto.
LCHS, according to Niche, received an overall grade of A+. The high school was given that mark in academics and college prep and an A for teachers and health and safety. It received an A-minus for diversity and a B+ in administration and in sports. Additionally, the district received a B-minus in resources and facilities and a C+ in clubs and activities. Food received a C.
Sinnette said she wasn’t sure if there was a direct correlation between an investigation of some LCHS students for allegedly using profane and racist language at basketball games in late March and December and the school’s rankings.
“They do survey data and it was something that was in the public’s eye. … There could have been feedback given by the community on that,” Sinnette said. “So it could have impacted it, but I don’t know if it was a key feature.”
LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said the district and LCHS administrators look at any reference to school success with interest, including the Niche rankings. He noted that district officials usually focus on the LCHS curriculum with regard to students’ success in meeting graduation requirements and continuing their education, and on data from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress and Advance Placement exam scores.
“Websites or rankings associated with news publications, from time to time, fluctuate based upon the search criteria that they use,” Cartnal said. “It is interesting to see that the California Dashboard does not appear to be among the data sets examined by Niche, but in its place are, among other things, Niche parent and student surveys that provide students or families with the ability to give up to five stars for important aspects of school life like academics, facilities and school culture, like other web-based apps that solicit user feedback.”
The California School Dashboard describes itself as an online tool that shows how local educational agencies and schools are performing on the state and local indicators included in California’s school accountability system.
While LCUSD was listed as No. 4 among the best school districts in L.A. County on, San Marino Unified School District ranked No. 1.
LCUSD received an A+ in academics, college prep and teachers and an A for health and safety. A B+ was given for administration with a B in clubs and activities, sports, and resources and facilities. A C was reported for food.
The website gave the city of LCF, with a listed median household income of $160,481 and median rent of $2,185, an overall A+ grade.
The city, which had a median home value of more than $1.2 million, was given an A+ in the category of “good for families” but a C+ for housing and a D for cost of living.
The national median household income was listed as $55,322 with the national median rent reported as $949. The national median home value was $184,700.
In 2002, the company was founded as College Prowler, which created physical guidebooks about colleges.
A few years ago, according to the website, it went digital and changed its name to Niche.

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