US News: Belmont High 8th Best in State, A Top STEM School in US

Photo: Belmont High School.

It something special when you’re in the top 100th of 1 percent.

And Belmont High School has some serious credentials when it comes to producing smart kids. For the umpteenth time, Belmont High was named a gold medal school by US News & World Report in its annual report of the best of the 21,000 public high schools in the United States. Only 2.5 percent of schools nationwide receives the gold standard. 

Belmont High was ranked 213th in the country and 8th in Massachusetts. The school has been slipping a few places each year; it reached its zenith in 2009 when Belmont was the 100th best high school. In 2014, the rank was 151st and last year, 200th.

But according to an analysis of the report, it’s not that Belmont is slipping educationally but rather it is the surge of specialized charter schools that emphasize high-level study and test taking with a select base of pupils that are jumping passed the local high school. 

In the analysis of the US and state, Belmont is grouped with test schools such as Boston Latin and  charter school. Regarding “open enrollment” high schools – in which all students in the district attend – Belmont ranks third behind Medfield Senior High and Hopkinton High and just in front of Lexington High (which Belmont trailed last year) and Dover-Sherborn Regional High

According to the ranking, a little more than seven out of ten students takes at on average four Advanced Placement tests with nearly all of them passing at least one AP test. Nearly all the pupils at the High School have tested proficient or advanced in English and math. The school does lag behind nearly 80 percent of Massachusetts high schools in terms of student/teacher ratio at 17 to 1. 

For the second year running, Belmont stands out in a new category of the analysis. In STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) education, Belmont repeated its 103rd US ranking with students, outpacing some of the same test and charter schools ranked higher than the Concord Avenue school. 

Belmont Selected 200th Best High School in 2015 USN&WR Rankings

Photo: Belmont High School ranked “Best” High School by USN&WR.

The grades are in for this year and Belmont High School, once again, is receiving a gold star.

For the sixth-year running, Belmont High has been named by US News & World Report as one of the best high schools in the country, according to the latest edition of the annual review of schools across the country.

This year, the 9th-12th grade school is ranked 200 out of 21,000 public schools surveyed by the magazine, earning a “gold” medal based on students performance on state assessment tests and how well the students are prepared for college.

(Here is the full methodology on ranking schools.)

According to the ranking, seven out of ten students takes at least one Advanced Placement course while attending Belmont High, with nearly all the pupils proficient or advanced in English and math. The school does lag behind nearly 80 percent of Massachusetts high schools in terms of student/teacher ratio at 16 to 1. 

When looking at schools with “open enrollment” – in which all residents are accepted – Belmont is the second-highest ranked high school in Massachusetts, trailing only Lexington High School (194th nationally).

Taking out charter, magnet, test, academic achievement and other schools which limit admissions, Belmont is one of the few “regular” high school that can claim a top 250 ranking in this year’s report.

Belmont outpaces some of the test schools as the Concord Avenue school achieved a 103rd ranking for top schools in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Last year, the organization ranked Belmont 151st among all high schools nationally and third state-wide. In 2009, Belmont High was named the 100th best US public high school. 

Belmont High Named As One of Nation’s Best

As the saying goes, you don’t come to Belmont for the roads; you come for the schools.

And in the latest issue of US News & World Report, Belmont High School is honored as one of the top-rated high schools in the country, earning the magazine’s “Gold” medal. The Concord Avenue school is ranked 151st nationally out of 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia examined that includes charter and examination-entry schools from across the US.

Using the USN&WR ranking criteria, Belmont High is rated higher than 99.2 percent of all high schools in the country.

The top-ranked high school in the country is the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas.

In Massachusetts, Belmont is the top-ranked open-enrollment high school, rated just below the state’s top school, Boston Latin, an exam school, and the Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough. Wellesley High and The Bromfield School, the town of Harvard’s public high school, round out the top five schools.

In 2013, the school was ranked 193rd nationally.

U.S. News teamed up with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research, one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world, on creating the ranking methodology that is based on, as the magazine stated, “the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

According to the magazine, Belmont High scored high on college preparedness, with nearly three-quarters of high school seniors taking and passing at least one AP advanced course.

The school also rated very high, 63rd in the country, in students taking and passing AP exams in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses.