11 Tarrant area high schools among top 150 in Texas

Eleven Tarrant County area high schools are among the top 150 in Texas, according to a prestigious national report released last week.

The U.S. News and World Report 2014 Best High Schools rankings are based on reviews of 31,242 U.S. public high schools, including 1,492 from Texas.

Harmony Science, a charter school in Fort Worth, received the highest ranking (34) among Tarrant County area schools. Officials at that campus could not be reached for comment.

Colleyville Heritage High School came in at No. 38, the second-highest among Tarrant County schools. Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, Fort Worth’s Paschal High School and Keller High School were ranked 81, 85 and 92, respectively. Only 189 schools in Texas received numbered rankings.

“We are pretty excited,” said Colleyville Heritage Principal Conrad Streeter. “I am very proud of our faculty and very proud of our kids.”

Streeter said the school encourages students to take Advanced Placement classes so they can excel in high school while prepping for college. The number of students taking AP courses is factored into the rankings.

The analysis stated that Colleyville Heritage had a 66 percent AP participation rate. Data compiled by the research gave the campus a 54.9 college readiness index.

Streeter said students can take an array of AP courses, including art history, math, science and English language arts. Last year, about 1,800 AP exams were given at the school of 2,252 students.

Students who score high on the AP exams can earn college credit.

Dallas has No. 1 school

The top ranked school in Texas — and the nation — is the School for the Talented and Gifted, a magnet school in the Dallas district. The School of Science of Engineering Magnet, another Dallas district school, is the No. 2 ranked school in Texas and No. 8 nationally.

U.S. News & World Report teamed with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research to produce the rankings. The methodology includes a three-step process that looks at several benchmarks, including reading and math scores for all students on each state’s high school proficiency tests.

The analysis also factored the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at each campus and how well minority and low-income students performed when compared to the state average for those demographics.

Schools ranked were also analyzed by their level of college-readiness performance using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data.

‘Teachers are top notch’

Fort Worth’s Paschal High School scored a 50 percent AP participation rate. Seventy percent of the students are listed as minority with 46 percent of the 2,584 students listed as economically disadvantaged.

Principal Terri Mossige said the school offers more than 30 AP classes and will be adding AP human geography for ninth-grade students next fall. About 100 students have signed up for the class, she said.

Mossige said gaining this recognition is an honor.

“The magic happens in the classroom,” Mossige said. “The teachers are top notch.”

School leaders at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club were also happy to make the list.

“We are so excited,” said Principal Linda Parker. We have high standards for teaching and learning in Northwest ISD. This is affirmation of what we can do when we have a focused approach to teaching and learning.”