Houston public high schools made a strong showing on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best High Schools.
Nearly 20 Houston-area schools earned gold medals and ranked among the top 500 schools nationwide. Throughout Texas, 65 high schools received gold medals. Only California had more, with 85 schools in that state earning gold medals.
Carnegie Vanguard High School and DeBakey High School for Health Professions — both in the Houston Independent School District — once again were the top-ranked Houston-area schools. Carnegie moved up two spots from last year in the nationwide rankings to land at No. 8, and DeBakey jumped up 11 spots to No. 18. They were Nos. 2 and 4 among high schools in Texas, up from Nos. 3 and 5 last year.
There was more movement among the rest of the gold-medal schools. Challenge Early College High School moved up to No. 69 nationwide, eighth in the state and third in Houston, up from the Nos. 78, 14 and 6 spots, respectively. Victory Early College High School also saw a major increase this year, moving from No. 293 last year to No. 112 nationwide, ranking eighth in Houston and No. 21 in the state.
Some Houston-area schools performed especially well on the magnet schools ranking. Carnegie came in at No. 2 nationwide, up two spots from last year. The School for the Talent and Gifted in Dallas — Texas’ top school — took the No. 1 spot. DeBakey also moved up two spots to No. 5, and Challenge took the No. 17 spot.
DeBakey also ranked No. 9 nationwide on the list of best schools focused on STEM— science, technology, engineering and math. The School for the Talented and Gifted was the only other Texas school in the top 10, taking the No. 6 spot.
Meanwhile, Houston’s performance on the list of best charter schools was not as strong as it was last year. Challenge was the top Houston school on that list at No. 21, which is up from No. 26 last year, but several other schools fell. YES Prep – Southwest, which was the top-ranked Houston school on the list last year, fell from No. 12 to No. 27.
However, charter schools — specifically BASIS Schools — nationwide performed particularly well this year, taking five of the top 10 spots on the overall national list. Click here to read more about the national list.
In ranking schools, U.S. News relied on students’ overall performance on state high school proficiency tests, disadvantaged students’ performance on those tests, graduation rate, and then Advanced Placement test data. All of that served as an effort to adjust available numbers to show how well (or poorly) public high schools are serving all students, not just the high-performing ones.
Here are Houston-area high schools that received a gold medal from U.S. News, along with their nationwide and statewide rankings:
- No. 8 (No. 2 in Texas): Carnegie Vanguard High School — Houston Independent School District
- No. 18 (No. 4 in Texas): DeBakey High School for Health Professions — Houston Independent School District
- No. 69 (No. 8 in Texas): Challenge Early College High School — Houston Independent School District
- No. 82 (No. 11 in Texas): YES Prep – Southwest — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 85 (No. 12 in Texas): YES Prep – East End — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 101 (No. 18 in Texas): YES Prep – Southeast — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 103 (No. 19 in Texas): YES Prep – North Central — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 112 (No. 21 in Texas): Victory Early College High School — Aldine Independent School District
- No. 145 (No. 29 in Texas): Eastwood Academy — Houston Independent School District
- No. 158 (No. 31 in Texas): Harmony School Of Science – Houston High — Harmony School Of Science – Houston
- No. 160 (No. 32 in Texas): KIPP Generations Collegiate — KIPP Inc Charter
- No. 174 (No. 34 in Texas): YES Prep – Gulfton — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 210 (No. 37 in Texas): Alief Early College High School — Alief Independent School District
- No. 218 (No. 38 in Texas): YES Prep North Forest — YES Prep Public Schools Inc
- No. 241 (No. 41 in Texas): The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts — Houston Independent School District
- No. 268 (No. 45 in Texas): Clear Horizons Early College High School — Clear Creek Independent School District
- No. 269 (No. 46 in Texas): KIPP Houston High School — KIPP Inc Charter
- No. 451 (No. 59 in Texas): The Woodlands High School — Conroe Independent School District
- No. 474 (No. 63 in Texas): Memorial High School — Spring Branch Independent School District
Olivia Pulsinelli is the senior web editor for the Houston Business Journal’s award-winning website. Follow her on Twitter for more.