Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 50
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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Media Rankings Show PHS Among Top Schools

Linda Arntzenius

Princeton High School (PHS) has received a gold medal ranking in the US News and World Report’s Best High Schools of 2008. The school came in 94th in the listing of over 18,000.

PHS was also recognized for excellence by the Wall Street Journal in its review of the top high schools sending students to a selection of Ivy League Colleges.

Sharing the news with the PHS community through an announcement made during homeroom last Wednesday, Principal Gary Snyder said: “This is high praise for PHS and the students and faculty are very deserving of this recognition — congratulations on a job well done.”

US News and World Report’s first ever ranking of America’s Best High Schools assessed the nation’s public high schools to find those that “set the best example of how to prepare students to achieve their post-graduation goals.”

The ranking used a formula produced in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, a K-12 data research and analysis business run by Standard & Poor’s, which has served as an independent, analytical resource for parents of school-aged children, state and national policymakers, and educators since 2001. For its searchable collection of education data, visit:

High schools in 40 states were ranked according to student performance on state tests; the performance of its most disadvantaged students; and the provision of college-level coursework.

The 100 best scoring schools earned gold medals, with the next 405 awarded silver medals, and an additional 1,086 schools awarded bronze.

The first-place winner was Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia, with a score of 100 in terms of college readiness. Rounding out the top five, which also scored top marks for college readiness, were: Pacific Collegiate Charter School in Santa Cruz, California; International Baccalaureate Program in Bartow, Florida; Oxford Academy in Cypress, California; and Montpelier High School in Montpelier, Vermont.

Besides PHS, which had a score of 58.9 in terms of college readiness, two other New Jersey schools were awarded gold medals: Dr. Ronald McNair Academy High School in Jersey City, which came in 26th place and Millburn Senior High, ranked 97th.

The Weekend Journal examined the freshman classes at eight top colleges: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins, and then compiled a list of the students’ high school alma maters.

The survey chose colleges where accepted applicants had reading and math SAT scores in the 1350-1450 range, according to the College Board. It ranked high schools, with a senior classes of at least 50 students, based on the number of students sent to those colleges, divided by the high school’s number of graduates in 2007.

PHS, which had 19 graduates from the class of 2007 go to Princeton University alone (up from 12 four years ago), made the list with a success rate of 10.4 percent, representing the percentage of students in the graduating class attending one of the chosen eight.

Unlike the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking, the Wall Street Journal included private schools and found that the 10 schools that performed best in its survey were all private schools. Two of the top overall performers are in South Korea. Daewon Foreign Language High School in Seoul, for example, sent 14 percent of its graduating class to the eight colleges examined — more than four times the acceptance rate of the prestigious Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y.

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