KIPP, Lynnfield, Swampscott schools are among the Top 50 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best High Schools

Three North Shore schools made it onto the Top 50 of U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools.

Of the state’s 395 high schools, Lynnfield High ranked 31st, KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School came in 43rd, and Swampscott High squeaked in at 49.

The highest ranked schools in the annual survey are those whose students demonstrated strong outcomes in state math and reading tests, passed college-level classes, and graduated in high proportions.

In Lynnfield, where the student-teacher ratio is 12 to 1, the percentage of 10th graders who rated advanced on the MCAS English test last year was 76 percent while 22 percent scored as proficient.

The math MCAS exam had similar results as 80 percent of students placed in the advanced category while 17 percent were proficient.

“Anytime your school gets recognized, it’s a reflection on the community, students, faculty, and staff,” said Robert Cleary, the school’s principal. “Much of that ranking relies on advanced placement (AP) participation and performance. We’re proud that we’ve not only increased the number of students taking AP classes, but have maintained solid performance as well.”

The AP participation rate at Lynnfield High is 71 percent and 99 percent of seniors graduated last year.

At KIPP Academy, the only charter school in Lynn, the numbers tell the story. AP participation is 73 percent, reading proficiency is 91 percent while 86 percent of its high schoolers tested well in math. The graduation rate is 88 percent.

One person who was not surprised by KIPP’s ranking was Fatoumata Haja Ba, an 11th grader who transferred from Breed Middle School to the charter school in 2014.

“I think our school is really great,” she said. “KIPP pushes us to get out of our comfort zone and let us shine in different ways.”

Last fall, the 18-year-old helped organize the Black Student Union as a place for teens of color to gather. The school’s minority enrollment is 94 percent — including 20 percent black and 67 percent Hispanic.

“At the public schools I attended, we never talked about race or about our experiences outside of school,” Ba said. “But at KIPP, they know we are aware of race and they gave us the space to create our own group.”

At Swampscott High reading proficiency among its students is 100 percent while math is 95 percent; the graduation rate is 97 percent; and 58 percent took at least one AP exam.

Superintendent Pamela Angelakis did not return a call seeking comment.

A great high school is key, according to U.S. News & World Reports, because it educates students from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and provides them challenging coursework on the path to graduation.

The ranking was completed in coordination with North Carolina-based RTI International, a nonprofit research firm. Together they rated 17,245 public high schools out of more than 23,000 reviewed.

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