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Friday, October 31, 2014

High School of American Studies tops 'U.S. News' list

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

Correction appended.

Twelve years after it opened, the High School of American Studies at Lehman College has catapulted to the top of a U.S. News & World Report list of the best high schools in the state.

The Bronx High School of Science came in at second on the publication’s influential list of rankings.

Nationally, the two schools ranked in the top 100, with American Studies coming in at 32nd place and Bronx Science at 34th. Marble Hill High School of International Studies on Terrace Avenue was 80th in that ranking. 

“I’m always delighted when the hard work of our students and teachers, other staff and parents gets recognized,” said American Studies Principal Alessandro Weiss. “I think this represents a coming of age for our little school.” 

The educator added that the rankings were based on test data from the 2011-2012 school year. To determine the rankings, U.S. News & World Report worked with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR) to analyze data from 19,411 public high schools around the country with a high enough 12th-grade enrollment for sufficient data.

All schools on the final list have to outperform their states’ averages for test scores. Judges take into account the number of “disadvantaged” students — people from low-income households and racial minorities — at schools along with student bodies’ rates of participation in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate programs, among other factors.

The High School of American Studies, which currently has 385 students in grades nine through 12, attained a “college readiness” score of 95.7 out of 100 possible points. Every student took AP exams in the 2011-2012 school year, with 94% earning passing scores. 

Mr. Alessandro said the school currently offers seven AP classes, including AP U.S. History and AP World History, both of which are mandatory for all students. The school also gives students the opportunity to take courses for college credit at Lehman College. 

Classes at the high school have an average of 26 students. Over 40 percent of the student body hails from the Bronx.  

“I think it says a lot about our school community, which is warm, positive, and supportive, and discourages cutthroat competition despite the very demanding course load that students take,” said Mr. Alessandro. 

“It’s like our coming of age,” he said of the ranking.

A previous version of this story referred to the High School of American Studies at Lehman College as "Lehman High School" in the headline. "Lehman High School" is generally used to refer to Herbert H. Lehman High School on East Tremont Ave. 

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