Eight Kansas City metropolitan area public high schools made this year’s U.S. News & World Report list of the best in the United States. Of those eight, six are on the Kansas side of the state line and two are in Missouri.
The local schools and their ranks on the national list are:
- Sumner Academy (#69)
- Lincoln College Preparatory Academy (#254)
- Blue Valley North (#297)
- Blue Valley Northwest (#568)
- Park Hill (#742)
- Blue Valley (#831)
- Shawnee Mission South (#1,272)
- Gardner Edgerton (#1,798)
In addition to the numerical ranking, U.S. News awards gold and silver medals. Of the local schools on this list, only the top three were listed as gold-medal schools. And the top two are located not in more affluent suburban areas but in urban school districts. Students from the Kansas City, Kansas School District are selected for admission to Sumner Academy, just as students from the unaccredited Kansas City, Missouri School District compete for admission to Lincoln College Prep.
According to the report’s methodology, the intent was to rate schools based on how well they serve all students, not just those who are college-bound. However, the researchers evidently did not take into consideration the fact that students at the top two local schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area are selected from the district’s general population as those most likely to succeed in secondary and higher education. Researchers did take into consideration student performance on state standardized tests, whether minority and disadvantaged students fared as well as others at the school on those tests and how many students participated in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.
Newsweek magazine compiled a list last year that shared some similarities with the U.S. News rankings but was not identical. In included only 500 schools, ranking Shawnee Mission East in addition to Shawnee Mission South and did not include Sumner Academy.
CORRECTION: An early version of this story said students apply for admission to Sumner Academy. A district staff person corrected me, saying: “Actually students attend Sumner Academy by invitation, not application. Invitations are based on test scores, grades, and discipline records.”
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