Above, Jeff Horton teaches an Advanced Placement World History class at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies.
Seven L.A. Unified high schools and seven of its authorized charters rank among the top 500 in the nation, according to a new list of the best-performing campuses released Wednesday by U.S. News & World Report.
The Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, a 1,600-student magnet, had the best showing among District schools, ranking 18th in California and 138th nationwide among more than 21,500 campuses that were evaluated. Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy also performed well and ranked 24th in California and 196th in the U.S.
They were followed by Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet (36/252); Elizabeth Learning Center (41/277); Downtown Business Magnets (56/360); Foshay Learning Center (64/406); and Marquez Libra Academy (82/492).
“This analysis confirms what L.A. Unified has known for years – magnet schools have high academic, social and emotional standards,” said Keith Abrahams, who oversees the District’s magnet program. “Magnet schools consistently provide a superb education while preparing positive contributors to society. I am proud of LACES, Bravo and Downtown Business Magnets, which will now share best practices and provide a model for our next group of highly ranked schools.”
Seven independent charters authorized by L.A. Unified also ranked in the top 500 nationwide: Magnolia Science Academy 2; Annenberg High; Bright Star Secondary Academy; Alliance Gertz-Ressler High; Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High; PUC Early College High; and Oscar de la Hoya Animo High.
Looking at statewide rankings, L.A. Unified had 130 traditional schools, 46 magnets and 72 charters among the top 500 campuses.
“These results affirm our commitment to prepare our students for college and careers,” said Dr. Frances Gipson, the District’s chief academic officer. “L.A. Unified is proud of our students, teachers and leaders for their scholarly accomplishments, both locally and nationally.”
U.S. News ranked schools on how well they are preparing students for college and careers. They evaluated data that includes diversity, family income levels, test scores and, for the first time, graduation rates. Schools have to meet or exceed a national standard graduation rate to be included among top-performing schools and to be ranked at a national level, the magazine said.
LACES Principal Harold Boger credited the dedication of the students, parents and faculty for the school’s success, explaining that the school supports students in achieving the high expectations set for them. Every sophomore has to take Advanced Placement World History, which he said lays the groundwork for students to tackle other AP courses. According to the U.S. News rankings, 90 percent of LACES students took an Advanced Placement test and 73 percent scored well enough to earn college credit.
“We’ve built this culture that Advanced Placement classes are important and that all students can do well in their AP classes,” Boger said. “We demand a lot of them, and we do a lot to help them through that. We set up a structure for them to study together. It makes it more fun, but the process means they get a lot more learning from it.”
The U.S. News list includes magnets and charters, but not private or parochial schools. Click here for a complete list of California schools.