Education

Here’s how Manatee County high schools fared in state, national rankings

Lakewood Ranch Mustangs celebrate the ultimate high school achievement

More than 500 Lakewood Ranch Mustangs earned their diplomas during Friday night's graduation ceremony. Graduating seniors celebrated their achievement with laughter, hugs and tears of joy.
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More than 500 Lakewood Ranch Mustangs earned their diplomas during Friday night's graduation ceremony. Graduating seniors celebrated their achievement with laughter, hugs and tears of joy.

U.S. News and World Report issued its list of best high schools Tuesday, and while Manatee County schools didn’t crack the top 100, a Sarasota County school claimed the top spot in the state.

The list used six factors to rank schools on their performance and how well they prepare students for college, according to the report.

In a list of Florida schools, Lakewood Ranch High was No. 114, the highest ranking for a Manatee County school. State College of Florida Collegiate School was ranked at No. 179. The schools came in at Nos. 2,093 and 3,634 in the report’s national rankings, respectively.

U.S. News with RTI International, which refers to itself as an independent, nonprofit research firm, ranked more than 17,000 public high schools, including a mix of traditional, charter and magnet schools. The 2018 edition only saw more than 2,700 ranked schools.

In 2019, U.S. News and World Report changed the way it ranks schools, saying in 2018, schools were ineligible to be ranked if they “came up short on state assessments or graduation rates,” and their order was based entirely on the U.S. News’ College Readiness index.

The best high school in Florida, according to the U.S. News and World Report ranking, was Pine View School in Osprey, Sarasota County. Pine View School ranked No. 15 nationally.

There were 555 Florida schools noted in the report.

The 2018 graduation ceremony for the Manatee High School Hurricanes was almost postponed, but the weather cleared up at the last minute. Family and friends flocked to the football field with umbrellas and ponchos to see their loved ones graduate.

The ranking weighs college readiness (seniors who took and passed at least one AP or IB exam with passing receiving a greater weight); math and reading proficiency based on aggregated scores on state tests, math and reading performance (how the state test scores compare to U.S. News’ “expectations” given the proportions of minority students and those from low-income households); under-served student performance (state test scores from minority and low-income household students compared to what is “typical” in the state); college curriculum breadth (proportions of seniors who took and passed AP and IB exams in multiple areas); and graduation rate, according to the rankings methodology.

The most consideration was given to college readiness, at 30 percent.

“The highest-ranked schools are those whose students excelled on state tests and performed beyond expectations; participated in and passed a variety of college-level exams; and graduated in high proportions,” according to U.S. News and World Report.

Data for the 2019 rankings was not collected directly from schools by U.S. News and World Report, but rather through The Common Core of Data in the U.S. Department of Education, The College Board and the International Baccalaureate.

Palmetto High School seniors received their diplomas during a Wednesday evening ceremony at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

How Manatee County high schools fared in Florida rankings (nationally):

  • Lakewood Ranch High, No. 114 (2,093)
  • State College of Florida Collegiate School, No. 179 (3,634)
  • Braden River High, No. 216 (4,597)
  • Manatee High, No. 232 (5,024)
  • Manatee School for the Arts, No. 253 (5,472)
  • Southeast High, No. 310 (7,307)
  • Palmetto High, No. 433 (11,777)
  • Bayshore High, No. 468-555 (12,935-17,245)

Academic Magnet High School in South Carolina was the top-ranked school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

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