America’s best high schools


Here’s a state-by-state look at which US high schools have the best pass rates. Does your child already go to school there?

Kimberly Lynch, a red-haired student with freckless, had a great interest in sunscreen. She was so passionate about it that she spent the last year developing a new way to test the effectiveness of sunscreen and recently submitted her results to a medical journal.

This 17-year-old student, enrolled in the final year of the Bergen Academies (or Bergen Academies in French) in Hackensack, New Jersey, is much younger than most scientists who submit their reports to accredited journals and devoted to medicine. But here it is: the high school in which Lynch is registered is not like the others.

The Bergen Academies, a high school that awards its students a diploma after four years, offers its students seven majors, including science, medicine, culinary arts, business and finance, and engineering. This establishment even has its own stem cell laboratory, where Lynch validated his experiments, under the direction of professor of biology Robert Pergolizzi, a former assistant professor of genetic medicine at Cornell University in the state of New York.


The stem cell lab, where students study adult human and mouse stem cells, and the nanotechnology lab located in the lobby where you can use a scanning electron microscope , are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I did several internships in different labs in this region, but none of them had the equipment we have here,” Lynch told us.

According to a new classification of American high schools, state by state, compiled by the San Francisco-based research organization GreatSchools for BusinessWeek magazine, the Bergen academies, each of which conducts admissions based on very strict criteria, form, among all of the academies in New Jersey, the best public high school in the state (if you take into account the results achieved by students in this state in subjects such as math, reading, and science). For each state, we also identified the high school in which students improved their results the best, the one that offers the best services to students from families with restricted incomes, and finally the public and private high schools that were rated the best. by users of the GreatSchools site.

But the competition is tough for the Bergen academies. Indeed, its list of rival high schools includes America’s elite public high schools, including Stuyvesant High School in New York, Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos, California, and Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, in Virginia, considered by many to be America’s best public high school.

It’s no surprise that many of the high schools on this list are either charter schools or institutions located in hotspots, which often adjudicate admissions based on specific requirements and engage in many parents, says Bill Jackson, president and founder of GreatSchools, a non-profit organization that ranks schools and provides parents with an Internet forum. (Click here for more information on Bill Jackson and the mission of GreatSchools.) However, this ranking also includes many traditional high schools.

Jackson said this ranking is a good starting point for parents. Indeed, they could, after having consulted this classification, consider moving to a district where one of these high schools is located, and ensure that their child can take a means of transport in order to go to one of the high schools listed on the list, he added.

Of course, many excellent high schools are not on the list; and because the main criterion for inclusion is based on test scores, the list did not take into account options offered by certain institutions, such as fine arts or sports programs. However, if you notice poor results obtained at the high school where your child is enrolled, it is important to notice this and ask the teaching staff of this establishment what measures they are adopting in order to improve the results of the pupils, advises Jackson.

“This approach can help some parents know how they can send their child to a better school,” Jackson continues. Sometimes that means they have to move…In urban areas, there are a growing number of charter schools as well as neighborhood programs, allowing parents to choose. In general, charter schools are open to any student residing in a specific geographic area. Institutions located in poles of attraction have additional requirements regarding the admission of students.

Bergen County Academies selects its 1,100 students from county suburbs, and admission requirements include an entrance exam as well as an interview.

“The services offered in our seven academies give a unique character to this school,” said Principal Daniel Jaye. Our theatrical program adds sweetness to the engineering academy. The confluence of communities is superb.

High schools such as the Bergen County Academies have the advantage of attracting top students from a relatively wealthy area . But not all top high schools fit the mold.

In Oklahoma, it turns out that the high school that gives its students the best results overall is also the one that enrolls the most students from families with limited incomes. Despite geographic barriers, 100% of students enrolled at Dove Science Academy — a public charter school attended by sixth through 12th graders and located in Oklahoma City — were admitted to the faculty last year. The results that the students obtained in the tests there were the best in the state.

About 90% of the 481 students at Dove Science Academy are entitled to lunch in the canteen for free or at little cost, and 60% of them come from families where English is not the first language, revealed to us Marc Julian, the assistant principal and dean of the establishment.

The high school, which was founded by a group of educators during the 2001-2002 school year in a former office building on a busy street in Oklahoma City, is based on very strict principles that apply to both students and teachers. Students wear uniforms, and the institution has a clear focus on academics. Every day, students have two or even three hours of homework to do at home. In addition, this high school has neither ROTC (Reserve Officers and Training Corps, a military organization responsible for training reserve officers in the United States armed forces), nor an American football team (it has started to offer a football and basketball faculty only in the last few years).

In this high school, young people are asked to stay an extra hour each evening, and (if necessary) to come on Saturdays if they fail the practice tests they take each month in order to prepare for the exams that assess all students in the state.

Admission is by lottery and, unlike most of the other top-ranked high schools on the list, requires no admission test. The best students are rewarded with an annual trip to Europe and Turkey, for which they pay only a few hundred dollars.

Teachers’ salaries are based on their merit and not on salary scales (there is no union either).

This year’s valedictorian, Jason Lugo, a 17-year-old student, confessed that his success had a lot to do with the dedication of those teachers who came to his home (even on weekends) to give him a free tutoring. on his kitchen table. Lugo, son of Mexican immigrants, will be the first member of his family to attend college. His father works in a laundry and his mother in an assembly line of air conditioners.

Once in college, he plans to major in finance and international business, and take a second major in political science, then set up as a financial adviser. After which, he hopes to embrace a politicalcareer.

“Maybe I’ll be the first Hispanic president of the United States,” suggests Lugo. Barack Obama succeeded, didn’t he? So everyone can do it now. »

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