graduation_cap_2.jpgWhen U.S. News & World Report announced their fourth edition of the Best High Schools rankings last week, South Florida was well represented.

Nearly 22,000 high schools from 49 states and the District of Columbia were analyzed using a formula produced by American Institutes for Research, one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.

A three-step process was used to determine 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.

Schools with the highest unrounded college readiness index values were numerically ranked nationally from No. 1 to No. 500 and were the gold medal winners.


In the Best High Schools Rankings by State category five Miami-Dade County public schools made the Top 20 schools in Florida: (1) Design & Architecture Senior High (DASH);  (2) Young Women’s Preparatory Academy; (11) Maritime & Science Technology Academy (MAST); (15) Coral Reef Senior High; (17) New World School of the Arts (NWSA).

In this year’s National Rankings the magazine awarded 500 gold medals and five Miami-Dade County schools made the grade as America’s 2012 Best High Schools: (16) DASH; (26) Young Women’s Prep; (73) MAST; (131) Coral Reef Senior High; (186) NWSA.

In the Best Magnet Schools category three Dade schools ranked in the top 20: (2) DASH; (5) Young Women’s Prep; (17) MAST.


The Broward County Public School District is home to several Best High Schools in the nation and state, according to the new rankings.

Broward’s top national ranking high schools and gold medalists, also ranking in the state’s top 50, are Cypress Bay High School (19 state, 253 national), Pompano Beach High School (20 state, 262 national) and McFatter Technical High School (24 state, 329 national).

In addition, four BCPS high schools are national silver medalists and rank in the state’s top 50: Nova High School (32 state, 544 national), Atlantic Technical High School (38 state, 611 national), Cooper City High School (46 state, 810 national) and Fort Lauderdale High School (48 state, 854).


In the Palm Beach County School District, Suncoast Community High School and Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts made the 2012 list of America’s top high schools. Suncoast ranks 28 and Dreyfoos 60 in the national ratings.

In the Florida ratings Suncoast ranks third, Dreyfoos eighth, Spanish River Community High School 30 and Boca Raton Community High School 36.

The lists of schools are currently available on U.S. News’ website: