Hershey High School remains one of the best public high schools, not only in the state but in the nation as well, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.
Of the nearly 18,000 public high schools the publication evaluated, the 1,200-student high school in Dauphin County was 551st in the national rankings and 12th among Pennsylvania public high schools. It ranked highest among the region’s schools last year and has consistently been a top performer in the state for over a decade.
It is the only public high school in the Harrisburg-York-Lancaster region make the top 5% of the magazine’s national rankings, which will be posted Tuesday at usnews.com. The vast majority of the public high schools ranked are traditional schools but also include charter and magnet schools.
Most of the other Pennsylvania schools in the top tier nationally are located in the Philadelphia region, with that city’s perennial top-performer, Julia R. Masterman Secondary School, landing in the No. 10 spot nationally and No. 1 in the state. The second-highest ranking Pennsylvania high school was Chester County’s Downingtown STEM Academy, which ranked 44th nationally.
“Having access to a strong high school program is paramount for students as they face an ever-changing world,” said Liana Loewus, managing editor of education at U.S. News, in a statement. “Making data on our high schools available helps parents ensure their child is in the educational environment that best sets them up to thrive.”
The No. 1 ranked high school in the nation is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.
Pennsylvania ranks 12th in the nation for the number of highly ranked schools. That includes 3.9% (or 26) schools ranked in the top 5% nationally, 9.8% (65) schools in the top 10% and 28.1% (187) of schools ranked in the top 25%.
The rankings are based on weighted scores of several school quality indicators U.S. News evaluated in working with the global research firm RTI International. Those indicators include outcomes on college-level exams administered in high schools, graduation rates, minority and low-income student performance, and results on state math, reading and science assessments.
The state assessment scores used for this year’s rankings come from the 2016-17 through 2018-19 results due to the lack of available scores for 2019-20. The federal government waived the requirement for administering state assessments that year to account for the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic.
The publication also ranked public high schools in the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro area, which includes Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties. In the metro rankings after Hershey at the top spot are Camp Hill, Cumberland Valley, Capital Area School for the Arts Charter School, Mechanicsburg Area, Lower Dauphin, and Boiling Springs, all of which ranked among the top quarter of high schools nationally.
Here is a full list of how the public high schools in the Capitol Region stacked up among the 676 Pennsylvania schools evaluated by U.S. News as well as their national rankings:
- Hershey High School: 12th in Pa., 551st nationally
- Camp Hill High School: 63rd in Pa., 1,757th nationally
- Palmyra Area Senior High School: 77th in Pa., 2,175th nationally
- Cumberland Valley High School: 89th in Pa., 2,451st nationally
- Capital Area School for the Arts Charter: 99th in Pa., 2,756th nationally
- Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School: 116th in Pa., 3,085th nationally
- Lower Dauphin High School: 129th in Pa., 3,433rd nationally
- Boiling Springs High School: 180th in Pa., 4,377th nationally
- Carlisle Area High School: 185th in Pa., 4,489th nationally
- Shippensburg Area Senior High School: 220th in Pa., 5,307th nationally
- Central Dauphin Senior High School: 230th in Pa., 5,469th nationally
- Red Land High School: 247th in Pa., 5,926th nationally
- East Pennsboro Area Senior High School: 248th in Pa., 5,927th nationally
- Newport High School: 302nd in Pa., 7,279th nationally
- Northern York High School: 306th in Pa., 7,338th nationally
- Susquenita High School: 310th in Pa., 7,440th nationally
- Harrisburg High School SciTech Campus: 313th in Pa., 7,591st nationally
- Greenwood High School: 342nd in Pa., 8,324th nationally
- Middletown Area High School: 349th in Pa., 8,580th nationally
- Halifax Area High School: 353rd in Pa., 8,677th nationally
- West Perry Senior High School: 361st in Pa., 8,823rd nationally
- Big Spring High School: 367th in Pa., 8,882nd nationally
- Susquehanna Township High School: 370th in Pa., 9,011th nationally
- Cedar Cliff High School: 397th in Pa., 9,956th nationally
- Upper Dauphin Area High School: 426th in Pa., 10,830th nationally
- Central Dauphin East High School: 455th in Pa., 11,613rd nationally
- Williams Valley Junior-Senior High School: 478th in Pa., 12,393rd nationally
Schools in the metro area not listed fell below the 25th percentile and did not have their exact rank listed. They included Commonwealth Connections Academy, Dauphin County Technical School, Harrisburg High School, Millersburg Area Senior High School, Reach Cyber Charter School, Steelton-Highspire High School, Cougar Academy, and Loysville Youth Development Center.
Jan Murphy may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on X (formerly known as Twitter) at @JanMurphy.