The magazine produced the rankings based on an analysis of data from nearly 22,000 US high schools. The rankings' methodology gives considerable weight to the percentage of graduates who are considered college-ready based on students' performance on college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Using the magazine's standard, 27 of HISD's 33 rated high schools -- 82 percent -- meet or exceed the state average when it comes to college readiness.
The rankings are based on data from the 2009-2010 school year, when the Board of Education and Superintendent Terry Grier launched an aggressive expansion of the district's AP program in all high schools. Since then, the number of AP exams scored 3 or higher (the generally accepted passing score) has increased 35 percent.
"This is great news as we celebrate National Teacher Day," Dr. Grier said. "Teachers across HISD are proving that the AP program is not just for the academically elite students. AP is for prepared students."
The news also comes on the heels of the latest Children at Risk rankings of Texas high schools that included eight HISD campuses among the top 50.
In addition, the strong all-around performance of HISD students has placed the district among four national finalists for the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education, which recognizes the top urban school district in America. As a finalist, HISD is guaranteed a minimum of $150,000 in college scholarships for students graduating in 2013. The scholarship total will climb to $550,000 if HISD wins the award.
The nine HISD schools that earned spots in the magazine's national rankings were:
- Carnegie Vanguard (U.S. rank: 33; Texas rank: 3)
- DeBakey High School for Health Professions (U.S.: 36; Texas: 4)
- Eastwood Academy (U.S.: 121; Texas: 14)
- Bellaire (U.S.: 349; Texas: 29)
- Lamar (U.S.: 376; Texas: 32)
- The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (U.S.: 377; Texas: 33)
- High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (U.S.: 950: Texas: 81)
- Challenge Early High School (U.S.: 1,069; Texas: 90)
- Empowerment College Prep (U.S.: 1,947; Texas 159)