America's 10 Best Math and Science High Schools
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Building students' skills in science, technology, engineering, and math is a major national priority, but few Americans have a grasp on who's doing it effectively. So for the first time ever, U.S. News & World Report has released a math- and science-specific high school ranking, picking 208 public and charter schools nationwide whose students perform well on AP tests in STEM fields. According to the publication's rankings, here are the 10 best STEM schools in the nation.
1. High Technology High School, Lincroft, New Jersey
Founded in 1991, HTHS is a 255-student magnet high school that features a pre-engineering academy and science classes with college-level labs. The school requires students to take college courses in their junior and senior years, and has highest average SAT score of any U.S. high school. Nearly 99 percent of HTHS seniors take AP exams and 100 percent score a 3 out of 5 or higher.
2. BASIS Tucson, Tucson, Arizona
Founded in 1998, BASIS is a charter school for fifth-through-12th-graders that admits students by lottery. The curriculum is so accelerated that students take a minimum of eight AP courses and at least six AP exams between 9th and 12th grades. Students can graduate after 11th grade, but most stay on to complete senior projects in biology, chemistry, or physics.
3. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia
TJ is a publicly funded, selective admissions, 9-12th-grade school in Fairfax County that educates 1,805 students. It's been ranked as the best overall public high school in the nation for the past five years. Students take classes in a wide range of STEM areas: organic chemistry, neurobiology, marine biology, and DNA science, and must take an introductory Java computer science class. Seniors complete a year-long technology laboratory research program. One hundred percent of seniors take AP exams and 100 percent pass with a 3 or higher.
4. Oxford Academy, Cypress, California
OA is a 7-12th-grade college preparatory public school that opened in 1998 and serves 1,021 students. Students have to take an entrance exam to attend and must maintain a certain GPA to stay at the school. Along with rigorous honors and AP classes, OA also offers computer education, digital animation and industrial technology courses. One hundred percent of OA seniors take AP exams and 100 percent pass with a 3 or higher.
Photo via Oxford Academy Foundation
5. The School of Science and Engineering Magnet, Dallas, Texas
Founded in 1982, SEM is a 391-student, college preparatory magnet high school that's regularly called the best in the nation. With a student body that's 72.4 percent minority and 48.3 percent low-income students, SEM is the most diverse school in the top 10. More minority SEM students pass the AP calculus test than at any other high school in the nation. Along with a full range of AP math and science classes, SEM also offers college-level science labs and computer science courses. All SEM seniors take AP exams and 100 percent score a 3 or higher.
Photo via SEM
6. The School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas, Texas
TAG is a public, college preparatory magnet high school founded in 1982 that educates 209 students. More than 51 percent of the student body is comprised of black and Latino students, and nearly 25 percent are low-income, the second most diverse school in the top 10. Students are required to take 11 AP courses and enroll in advanced research and technology classes. The school is regularly ranked as one of the top high schools in the nation.
7. Pacific Collegiate School, Santa Cruz, California
This 383-student college preparatory charter middle and high school was founded in 1999, and regularly tops national "best high school" lists. Students, who are admitted by a lottery, are required to take a rigorous six-year sequence of math and science and must pass AP physics, chemistry and biology to graduate. One hundred percent of PCS seniors take AP exams, and 100 percent earn a 3 or higher.
8. International Community School, Kirkland, Washington
This public middle and high school, founded in 1997, educates 381 students who are admitted by lottery. Although the school doesn't focus specifically on STEM, it's known for its extremely high academic standards in multiple core academic areas, and seniors are required to complete a comprehensive project. Nearly 94 percent of ICS seniors take AP exams, and 87.8 percent earn a 3 or higher.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
9. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora, Illinois
This public residential school for gifted students opened in 1986 and educates 637 10th- through 12th-graders. All courses are taught at the honors level, and the school is known for its investigation-oriented math curriculum. Almost 82 percent of IMSA students take AP exams, and 75.2 percent earn a 3 or higher.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
10. Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, California
The only open enrollment school in the top 10, Mission San Jose educates nearly 2,000 students. The school was founded in 1963, but in 2001, the campus moved toward a college-preparatory focus. Mission is now the top ranked non-magnet public school out of 7,000 high schools in California. The school offers career strands in biotechnology and forensic science, and 92.1 percent of seniors take AP exams. Of those, 82.7 percent earn a 3 or higher.