Three Houston high schools deserve a tip of the cap (or mortarboard) after earning marks for excellence. On June 12, U.S. News & World Report released its annual Best U.S. High Schools by metro area, ranking the top public schools in each major city.
DeBakey High School for Health Professions is at the top of the class in the Bayou City. In addition to earning top marks for academics, the school is notably comprised of mostly minority students — 89 percent.
To determine the country's best schools, U.S. News ranked each school using six metrics, applying different weights to each category:
- College readiness (30 percent)
- Math and reading proficiency (20 percent)
- Math and reading performance (20 percent)
- Underserved service (10 percent)
- College curriculum breadth (10 percent)
- Graduation rate (10 percent)
Based on the above, the school has an overall score of 99.9 (or an A-plus in high school lingo), complete with 100 percent graduation and reading and mathematics proficiency rates. Also, 100 percent of students took and passed at least one AP exam.
Located on the prestigious Texas Medical Center Campus, DeBakey offers students unparalleled access to on-site research facilities, as well as future academic opportunities, U.S. News notes.
"Graduates are eligible for the Houston Premedical Academy, an undergraduate program at the University of Houston designed specifically for DeBakey High School students," the report says. "Those selected for the premedical academy receive provisional acceptance to the Baylor College of Medicine."
DeBakey ranks first in Houston and No. 17 nationally. Carnegie Vanguard High School earned the No. 2 spot in Houston, 24th in the nation, followed by Eastwood Academy at No. 3 locally and 97th nationally.
Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas dominated both the national and statewide list. Dallas' Science and Engineering Magnet School earned the 12th spot nationally and the No. 1 spot in the city (and the state, for that matter). SEM earned an overall score of 99.93 percent. It also racked up 100 percent across each major metric, including graduation rate, reading and math proficiency, and students taking AP exams.
Dallas' School for the Talented and Gifted earned the No. 2 spot in Dallas (16th nationally), followed by Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School in the No. 3 spot (63rd nationally).
Austin's Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy was declared the best school in Austin, ranking No. 28 nationwide. LASA, as it is better known, earned a score of 99.84. The Northeast Austin school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and reading and math proficiency. One hundred percent of LASA students took an AP exam last year, and 98 percent passed at least one advanced class.
The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders was No. 2 in Austin, 137th nationally, and KIPP Austin Collegiate was third locally and 198th nationally.
Alamo City's top performing school is Young Women's Leadership Academy, with a score of 99.18. The academy has a 100 percent graduation rate and mathematics proficiency rate. Reading proficiency is at 98 percent. Though 100 percent of students take AP exams, just 61 percent pass, which perhaps accounts for the academy not placing higher nationally (it's currently No. 20 in Texas, and 141st nationally).
YWLA is joined by Health Careers High School at No. 2 in San Antonio, 165th nationally, and International School of America, ranked No. 3 locally, 491st nationally.