The first annual ranking of America’s Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report includes the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Polytechnic High School and Lakewood High School.
CAMS earned a gold medal, Poly earned silver, and Lakewood earned bronze.
Gold medal winners are those that made the top 100 out of nearly 19,000 public high schools nationwide. CAMS earned a ranking of 21. Only 405 schools earned silver, and 1,086 earned bronze, putting CAMS, Poly and Lakewood in the top 8 percent of high schools nationwide.
U.S. News and World Report published its full list of schools online at www.usnews.com/highschools.
The magazine hit newsstands Monday, Dec. 3.
CAMS is a 600-student regional high school at Cal State Dominguez Hills and is run by the Long Beach Unified School District.
“We’re excited, thrilled and pleasantly surprised,” said CAMS Principal Janice Filer. “Being a small high school, we work as a close-knit family. The credit for this honor goes to the entire CAMS community.”
The U.S. News methodology was developed by School Evaluation Services, an education data research business run by Standard & Poor's. U.S. News analyzed 18,790 public high schools in 40 states. A three-step process determined the best high schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using state proficiency standards as the measuring benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepared students for college.
In judging college readiness, U.S. News used Advanced Placement data as the benchmark for success. AP is a College Board program that offers college-level courses at high schools across the nation. A "college readiness index" was computed based on AP participation rates and how well students performed on AP tests.
Gold medal winner CAMS accepts applications from students from 80 middle schools in 11 participating districts—usually coming from the top 30 percent of their class. More than 40 percent of CAMS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, yet they consistently have UC admission rates that are among the highest in California.
In 2004, CAMS earned the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award. By the time students graduate from CAMS, they have completed the equivalent of six years of science, four years of math and, on average, have earned 22 college credits. One hundred percent of the CAMS Class of 2007 went on to college.