Three Connecticut public high schools are ranked in the top 100 in the nation - Weston High School at #84 and New Canaan High School at #85, Staples High School in Westport at #94. The rankings, compiled by the website Niche, focused on the overall student experience at the schools in developing the list. Academics, health and safety, teachers, and student culture and diversity were aspects of the analysis. The top 15 public high schools in the state were Weston High School, New Canaan High School, Staples High School (Westport), Darien High School, Simsbury High School, Ridgefield High School, Wilton High School, Greenwich High School, Glastonbury High School, Amity Regional High School (Woodbridge), Conard High School (West Hartford), Farmington High School, Cheshire High School, Joel Barlow High School (Redding) and Daniel Hand High School (Madison).
Weston High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School for excellence in education by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013. The school’s “greatest strength is the level of personalization that students receive during their four-year experience,” the Blue Ribbon citation indicated.
The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville is ranked as the top private school in Connecticut, and reached the top ten in the nation, at number seven. It is the only Connecticut private school in the top 25. The other Connecticut private schools in the top 50 nationally are Choate Rosemary Hall at #30 and Hopkins School in New Haven at #43. An independent boarding school founded in 1891, Hotchkiss School provides "an education of unsurpassed quality" to 600 students in grades 9 through 12, according to the school website, which indicates that students come from across the United States and 34 foreign countries.
A high ranking in Overall Experience generally indicates that:
- Students are very happy with their experiences in all aspects, including academics, teachers, health, safety, resources, facilities, extracurriculars, sports, and fitness;
- The school is an exceptional academic institution in terms of teachers, students, resources for learning, and student outcomes;
- The school is made up of a diverse population and fosters an accepting, positive school culture;
- Students are actively involved in a variety of extracurriculars and sports the school offers.
The Best Public High Schools ranking provides what Niche describes as “a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience at public high schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It uses data sourced from various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and 4,625,227 opinion-based survey responses across a variety of topics from 287,560 current students, recent alumni, and parents.”
Factors considered in the analysis include:
- Academics, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding academics at the school.
- Health & Safety, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding health and safety at the school. R
- Student Culture & Diversity, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding culture and diversity at the school.
- Survey Responses, which consist of parent and student opinions about the overall experience at the high school they currently or recently attend(ed).
- Teachers, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding teachers at the school.
- Resources & Facilities, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding resources and facilities at the school.
- Extracurriculars & Activities, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding clubs and activities at the school.
- Sports & Fitness, which incorporates statistics and student, alumni, and parent surveys regarding athletics and general fitness at the school.
Among private schools in Connecticut, according to the website analysis, the leaders are The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Hopkins School in New Haven, The Taft School in Watertown, Brunswick School in Greenwich, Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Kent School in Kent, King Low Heywood Thomas School in Stamford, Greens Farms Academy in Westport and The Master’s School in West Simsbury.
According to the analysis, a high ranking indicates that “the school is an exceptional academic institution with a diverse set of high-achieving students who rate their experience very highly.”
The next ten private schools in the rankings are Westminster School in Simsbury, The Cheshire Academy, Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Williams School in New London, The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Canterbury School in New Milford, Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, Avon Old Farms School and Westover School in Middlebury.
Niche, based in Pittsburgh, was founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students as CollegeProwler.com, and has since “grown into one of the largest content startups in the country,” according to the company’s website.