Downey and Warren high schools have been named 2021 U.S. Best High Schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. This ranking includes data on nearly 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 18,000 schools were ranked on six factors based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Downey Unified’s comprehensive high schools were in the top high schools nationwide.
At the beginning of May, U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, announced the 2021 Best High Schools – a new, revamped edition of the rankings, providing the most comprehensive evaluation of America’s public high schools ever produced by U.S. News.
“The Best High Schools rankings provide the most comprehensive, data-based information on nearly every public high school in the country,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, in a release published by U.S. News & World Report on April 27, 2021. “Families can use the Best High Schools rankings to see how schools compare at the national, state and local level on factors like graduation rates and college readiness. The rankings also provide insight into academic performance among underserved groups.”
The 2021 Best High Schools ranking methodology focuses on six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates. College readiness specifically measures participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. The data used in this edition is from the 2018-2019 academic school year, and therefore was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our vision is to graduate all students with a 21st Century education that guarantees they are college and career ready,” expressed Downey Unified Superintendent, Dr. John Garcia. “Having our two comprehensive high schools ranked in the top quartile nationally is a testament to the amazing work we are doing here in Downey Unified, not just at the high school level but districtwide as well.”
The Downey Unified School District has 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools and one adult school that are led by the district’s vision. Students are taught 21st Century skills that implement technology, collaboration, communication and citizenship. The offerings that are available to Downey Unified students continue to increase each year due to various state allocated program specific budgets and grants, such as the LCAP and most recently the K12 Strong Workforce grant.
Some examples of offerings that can be found in Downey Unified that are unique from surrounding districts include: Kindergarten through 12th grade robotics; the Femineer program, an engineering program that focuses on engaging middle and high school female students; and over a dozen industry-aligned pathways and courses that are available to high school students that provide them with real-world, hands-on work experience as well as third- party certifications. Included in these pathways are state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities that allow students to practice these skills using the equipment and software that is currently being used by industry professionals. For example, students enrolled in the automotive engineering pathway spend their time working under the hood of cars that are stationed in repair bays, equipped with the latest automotive technology.
The Best High Schools rankings are available exclusively on usnews.com and include data on a variety of factors, such as enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessments. U.S. News worked with RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive ranking methodology for the 2021 Best High Schools rankings.
About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.