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Public Charter Schools Rank Among Top Public High Schools in the Nation

The rankings are in!  Every year, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, and Newsweek rank public high schools across the nation. Despite public charter schools making up only 6 percent of public high schools nationwide, they have been historically well represented on these lists, and 2013 is no exception.

The table below presents the public charter schools that were ranked in the top 100 on at least one of the lists, as well as the public charter schools ranked in Newsweek’s top 25 Transformative Schools list. Five public charter schools were listed in the top 100 on the three major lists: Peak to Peak Charter School, Signature School Incorporated, Uplift Education – North Hills Preparatory High School, Westlake Academy, and the American Indian Public High School, which was also ranked as the second best Transformative School in the nation.

The U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools list had 28 public charter schools in the top 100, up from 17 last year. The report also ranked three public charters in the top 10. The Washington Post’s Most Challenging High Schools list also put 28 public charter schools in their top 100, and four in their top 10. In Newsweek’s America’s Best high Schools list, there were 13 public charter schools in the top 100, with two BASIS charter schools reaching their top 10.

Newsweek also came out with their Transformative High Schools list, which takes students’ socioeconomic status into account by looking at schools that serve a high percentage of students who receive free- or reduced-price lunches. Sixteen public charter schools were on the list, making up 64 percent of the nation’s top 25 Transformative schools. All top five schools were public charter schools.

School Name State U.S. News & World Report, Best High Schools Washington Post, High School Challenge Index Newsweek, America’s Best High Schools Newsweek, 25 Transformative High Schools
Haas Hall Academy AR 83
BASIS Scottsdale AZ 5 3
BASIS Tucson AZ 2
BASIS Tucson North AZ 7
Northland Preparatory Academy AZ 77
Sonoran Science Academy – Davis Monthan AZ 53
Sonoran Science Academy – Tucson AZ 96
Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High CA 95 4
Alliance Gertz-Ressler High CA 6
Alliance Huntington Park College-Ready Academy High CA 10
Alliance Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science CA 23
American Indian Public High CA 38 1 11 2
Animo Jackie Robinson High CA 21
Animo Leadership High CA 13
Animo Oscar De La Hoya Charter High CA 11
Animo Pat Brown CA 18
Hawthorne Math and Science Academy CA 89
Lennox Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy CA 39
Magnolia Science Academy CA 45
Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy CA 72 25
Pacific Collegiate Charter CA 11 56
Preuss School UCSD CA 30 29 1
Summit Preparatory Charter High CA 82
University High CA 42
Peak to Peak Charter School CO 58 70 49
Charter School of Wilmington DE 62
Archimedean Upper Conservatory Charter School FL 26 54
Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy FL 86
International Studies Charter High School FL 15
Somerset Academy Charter High School FL 7
Gwinnett Charter School of Advanced Mathematics, Science, & Technology GA 3 10
Coeur D’Alene Charter Academy ID 59 89
Noble Network of Charter Schools – Noble Street College Prep IL 15
Signature School Inc IN 23 8 12
Benjamin Franklin High School LA 55
Sturgis Charter Public MA 31 64
Raleigh Charter High School NC 77 40
Albuquerque Institute of Math & Science NM 42
Harding Charter Preparatory High School OK 75
Corbett Charter School OR 70 4
Early College H S TX 97
Eastwood Academy TX 56 50
Harmony Science Acad (El Paso) TX 71
Harmony Science Academy – North Austin TX 46
IDEA Frontier College Preparatory TX 60
IDEA Quest College Preparatory TX 83
KIPP Houston H S TX 65
Uplift Education – North Hills Preparatory High School TX 51 82 41
Uplift Education – Peak Preparatory High School TX 24 5
Uplift Education – Summit International Preparatory TX 23 51 14
Uplift Education – Williams Preparatory High School TX 28 3
Westlake Academy TX 41 20 52
YES Prep – East End Campus TX 18
YES Prep – North Central Campus TX 46 89 17
YES Prep – Southwest Campus TX 66 83



The U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools list evaluates over 21,000 public high schools in the country. Their ranking is based on students’ performance on state-mandated assessments, minority and economically disadvantaged student performance, and Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam results to determine preparedness for college-level work.

The Washington Post’s Challenge Index is calculated by the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) tests given at a school in 2012, divided by the number of graduates that year. Also included are the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, indicators called equity and excellence for the Challenge Index.

Newsweek’s America’s Best High Schools ranks schools based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent). Their ranking system focuses on high schools that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads.

Newsweek’s Transformative Schools ranking used the Newsweek’s America’s Best High Schools score and multiplied it by the percentage of students who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunches, a leading indicator of socioeconomic status. The overall ranking for each school is based on the graduation rate, college-bound rate of grads, AP participation, and test scores.