Forty-four Connecticut high schools have earned a slot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the nation’s Best High Schools. The top school in Connecticut, according to the rankings, is Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, an inter-district magnet school run by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), which came in at number 15 in the U.S. rankings.
The title of number one school in the country went to School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas. The top ten nationally included schools in Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Michigan and California. The publication’s 2014 Best High School rankings, included a review of 19,411 public high schools.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Connecticut has 17 gold medal schools, 20 silver medal schools and seven bronze medal schools. In order to be eligible for a state ranking, a school must be awarded a national gold or silver medal.
CREC’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, at #15 nationally, was the only Connecticut school to make the top 30. The school plans to move to a newly constructed school facility in Windsor next year. It is a grade 6 – 12 magnet school with programs that build upon each other to help students gain skills and unique experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that prepare them for college and high-demand professional careers. The diverse student body comes from more than 30 cities and towns in the Greater Hartford area.
The Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy, in East Hartford, ranked #2 in Connecticut and #31 in the nation, according to the US News rankings. The #3 high school in Connecticut ranked #182 nationally – Weston High School.
In addition to the top 12 high schools in Connecticut (see chart), those making the U.S. News list included Joel Barlow High School (Redding), Simsbury High School, Greenwich High School, Newtown High School, New Canaan High School, Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Avon High School, Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Brookfield High School, Fairfield Warde High School, Amity Regional High School (Woodbridge), Guilford High School, Glastonbury High School, Suffield High School, Litchfield High School, Metropolitan Learning Center (Bloomfield), and Bolton High School, all among the top 1,000 high schools nationally.
Also reaching the U.S. News list, were Valley Regional High School (Deep River), Bristol Central High School, South Windsor High School, Daniel Hand High School (Madison), Southington High School, Hill Regional Career High School (New Haven), Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School (New Haven), and Northwestern Regional High School (Winsted), which placed among the top 1,640 high schools nationwide.
Among the Connecticut high schools (see the full list of rankings) the top ranked school for college readiness was Lyme-Old Lyme High School, followed by Old Saybrook High School and Pomperaug Regional High School (Southbury).
The best student-teacher ratio in the state was 10:1, occurring in 13 high schools, including Bloomfield High School, Windsor High School, East Windsor High School and Windham High School. Twelve schools were tied with the highest math proficiency in the state; four schools had the highest reading proficiency among their students – Newtown, Greenwich, Brookfield and Farmington high schools.
The US News site explains that "a three-step process determined the Best High Schools. The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks. For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work."
- Step 1 determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state.
- Step 2 determined whether the school's least-advantaged students were performing better than average for similar students in the state.
- Step 3 judged college-readiness performance using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data as the benchmarks for success.
Gold medal designation went to the top 500 schools (about 3 percent) based on the highest college readiness, the silver medal to high performing schools with lower college readiness numbers (about 9 percent of schools), and the bronze designation went to high performing schools based on state exam performance (about 15 percent of schools). Three-quarters of the schools whose data was analyzed did not earn a “best” designation.