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America's Best High Schools

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Replies to: America's Best High Schools

  • mathmommathmom 33180 replies161 threads Senior Member
    I'll stand by my son's public education, because for the most part he got as good and education and in some respects a better education than I got in my expensive highly regarded prep school.

    I did read the last paragraph - I felt it was important to give both points of views. The fact is it is not a settled matter by any means that charter schools are superior to public schools. In states with good safeguards they may be.

    My kids went to an arts and humanities magnet for elementary school. There were aspects to being a magnet (which I think also hold true for charters) that I feel tend to make them superior. One is that a large portion of the parents in these schools have chosen them. That makes for involved parents and involved PTAs. Second is that in order to continue to receive funding our school had to justify their programs. So they did periodic checks to make sure they were effective.
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  • -Allmusic--Allmusic- 6246 replies104 threads Senior Member
    I have heard the music groups from a couple of our charter schools for the performing arts.

    I will take our public schools any day of the week. Far superior musically.
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  • ricegalricegal 1340 replies10 threads Senior Member
    My son's school is on the list. It is a decent public school. Much better than the high school I attended in many ways - better teachers, harder classes, stronger students. It draws from a highly educated populace so while there are minorities there, their parents are educated. The populace is not wealthy by the standards of the larger urban area and most of the families are two-income. Most of the students head to public university upon graduation.

    I have a child who is near the top in his class and one who was at the bottom. The school was not perfect in dealing with the bottom student, but I have to say that they tried. The teachers were very flexible and the administration worked hard to counsel him. I finally had to put him in a private school with only 5 kids/class in order to get him through his most difficult classes, but the public high school was good about integrating him back in when he returned. The main complaint I have about the school is that there wasn't any vocational training. The district offered it, but at a different school. They did have a transistion to work program for special ed kids. My son didn't want to do it because he was happy with his after-school job and wanted to continue with it.

    The private schools in our area are more self-selecting and have a better track record for getting kids into the top 20 colleges. They also offer more AP courses. Son's school offers 11 AP classes - 2 science, 2 math, 2 language, 1 English, 2 social studies, 2 in electives. The private schools offer one more in each area, and lots of kids are able to take more. At son's school, the AP classes have so much homework that it's very difficult to take 3 each year, much less the 4 or 5 that I see some of the kids on this forum taking.
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  • HSisOverratedHSisOverrated 372 replies20 threads Member
    My kids went to an arts and humanities magnet for elementary school. There were aspects to being a magnet (which I think also hold true for charters) that I feel tend to make them superior. One is that a large portion of the parents in these schools have chosen them. That makes for involved parents and involved PTAs. Second is that in order to continue to receive funding our school had to justify their programs. So they did periodic checks to make sure they were effective.

    That's what charter schools do. You know how many kids have dropped out because they can't keep up with classes that do not employ the same repetitive instruction and hand-holding tactics? We go to class 2-3 times a week and spend the rest of the time at home. On average, kids are spending 8-12 hours of homework on home days, something p.s kids do not share. I find magnet schools rather biased, as location is often limited to more privileged and funded districts, while charter is less elite emphasized.

    While I would kill to attend a magnet school, my experience with locals ones was almost on par with neighboring public, except more titles and stalking parents.

    I mean is it really necessary to say thank every time a teacher walks through the front door? We all know getting a nice recommendation for your kid is a reasonable goal, but there is more to life than kissing up.
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  • Dad IIDad II 2087 replies194 threads Senior Member
    Our HS made into the top 50 on this list. Does that help our kids in college application head to head to kids from lower ranking HS?
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    I don't think there's any question that, head-to-head, a student from a strong school has an advantage over a student from a non-strong school. But what's key is the admissions staff's assessment of school strength. That's something they actually know quite a lot about, since they are looking at multiple candidates from many schools year after year, and also have the ability to track what happens to kids after they enroll. So it's completely unlikely that any selective colleges care at all what USNWR or Newsweek think about high schools. (The WSJ rankings, on the other hand, essentially measure what admissions staffs think about high schools, or at least they would if they averaged multiple years.)
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  • standrewsstandrews 1343 replies22 threads Senior Member
    That's something [admissions folks] actually know quite a lot about, since they are looking at multiple candidates from many schools year after year, and also have the ability to track what happens to kids after they enroll. So it's completely unlikely that any selective colleges care at all what USNWR or Newsweek think about high schools.

    Quite right. Colleges have better HS information to go on. This is especially true for state universities that know most all of the high schools in their state intimately. For the student at a small HS that applies to a small college or U 1500 miles away it might be worth making sure they know HS rigor.
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13728 replies113 threads Senior Member
    Following up on what Marian said about MoCo schools --

    I would agree that the W high schools are more of a demonstration of economic advantages than of inherent educational excellence. What surprised me was that one local high school that's ranked in the top 25 by Newsweek didn't even make the top 100 on USNWR.
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  • OdysseyTiggerOdysseyTigger 484 replies16 threads Member
    newmassdad

    The schools I listed were not my "favorites", they are either comparables to the schools listed - essentially without any disadvantaged population to consider and high Newsweek rankings, or ... they are districts serving a broader socio-economic base who also ranked well in the Newsweek survey - something that seemingly should have helped them here. There seems no reason that these schools and others would not have ranked in the same ballpark as those that were ranked. There was no limit to the number of silver medals awarded.

    Moreover, there are two schools ranked here which would be consensus picks for bottom 10, if not bottom five, in the county.

    Thus, it seems to me that the majority of Westchester schools either were not asked to participate or did not respond to the survey.
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  • WintersetWinterset 715 replies2 threads Member
    Personally I was amused by the WSJ selection of colleges. They could have used the Prepreview.com list which is for the 8 Ivy's plus Stanford and MIT. Maybe they did not want to pay for it. If they had used THOSE 10 schools the 2008 ranking would have been as follows for the boarding schools (I have not paid for the foreign or the day schools). Oh and note that the comparison is just for last year's admissions to those 10 colleges and that not all schools report SAT's on the new format:

    1 St. Paul's School 34% 2049
    2 Deerfield Academy 32% 2040
    2 Milton Academy 32% 1360
    4 Groton School 31% 2100
    5 Middlesex School 30% 2010
    6 Phillips Andover Academy 29% 2008
    6 Phillips Exeter Academy 29% 2073
    8 Noble and Greenough School 28% 1355
    9 St. Albans School DC 25%
    10 Lawrenceville School 22% 2020
    11 Hotchkiss School 20% 2015
    12 Choate Rosemary Hall 19% 1332
    13 Hockaday School 18% 1990
    14 Peddie School 17%
    15 St. Andrew's School 16% 1305
    15 Belmont Hill School 16% 1340
    17 Blair Academy 12% 1230
    17 Taft School 12% 1293
    19 St. George's School 11% 1291
    19 Indian Springs School 11% 1305
    21 Cate School 10% 1310
    21 Concord Academy 10% 2023
    23 Cranbrook Schools 8-10% 1921
    23 Georgetown Preparatory School 8-10%
    23 Loomis Chaffee School 8-10%
    23 Northfield Mount Hermon School 8-10% 1202
    23 Miss Porter's School 8-10% 1865
    23 Emma Willard School 8-10% 1910
    23 Episcopal High School 8-10%
    30 Kent School 5-8%
    30 Webb Schools 5-8% 1300
    30 Woodberry Forest School 5-8% 1310
    30 Culver Academies 5-8%
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  • mathmommathmom 33180 replies161 threads Senior Member
    In Westchester County (that's what you are talking about Odyssey right?) indeed two of the listed schools are not considered great schools at all. However, it may well be that they are serving minorities better than most of the supposedly better schools. They do deserve commendations for that, but I doubt their applicants will get too many brownie points for being on the list.

    It does seem to be true that colleges get to know a school. For example, our school has a much better acceptance rate for Harvard than Yale, Princeton or MIT. And Stanford has only accepted two students in the last six years who were both URMs, and also either legacies, politically connected or athletes.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    That's a pretty believable list. Some of the schools on it are not, to my knowledge, boarding schools -- Episcopal, Cranbrook -- or not other than incidentally boarding schools -- e.g., Hockaday. Also, it's interesting how not-well this list compares with top day schools. I know there are quite a number in NYC that would approach or exceed the 50% level for those colleges, and at least four or five in the Philadelphia area (including one small public school) that were at 20% or higher (some much higher) last year.
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  • Jonathan1Jonathan1 5426 replies318 threads Senior Member
    I live pretty close to Cranbrook and according to BSR, it's 34% boarding. Episcopal is 100%boarding.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Ooops. That's another Episcopal than the one with which I'm familiar. And I had no idea Cranbrook had so many (or any) boarding students.
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