Area schools named to Newsweek’s ‘Top Schools’ list

Northview ranked highest among traditional schools in Georgia



NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Seven schools in North Fulton were among Newsweek magazine’s list of top-ranking public high schools across the country, with Northview High School leading the pack in Georgia. Since 1998, the publication highlights the schools that staff statisticians believe best prepare students for the rigors of college.

In addition to Northview, which was ranked at 197 in the country, other area schools on the Top 2000 list include Johns Creek (214), Chattahoochee (518), Alpharetta (739), Centennial (913), Milton (975) and Roswell (1038).

In all, 50 schools in Georgia were named to the Newsweek list of Top 2000, although none were listed among the “South’s Top 25.” Northview was the highest ranked school in Georgia for schools with enrollment over 1,000 students, bested only by magnet schools in Columbus and Augusta.

In the past, Newsweek determined the rank of public high schools based on a ratio that compiled the total number of Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) tests taken, divided by the number of graduating seniors.

This year, Newsweek adjusted its ranking methodology, and now compiles the list based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/Advanced International Certificate of Education tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent) and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).

The change in how schools are ranked was likely made to address critics who have long criticized the Newsweek list for including schools with high dropout rates and low test scores and which should not be on a list of the nation’s best schools.

Considering graduation rates and test scores meant some schools, which landed on the list each year for simply offering an IB curriculum, did not make this year’s list.

Newsweek noted all data, taken from the 2011-2012 school year, was “self-reported,” and voluntarily provided by the schools. Of the 5,000 public high schools requested to provide information, only 2,500 returned enough information in time to be considered for the 2013 list.

For that reason, education officials caution parents to not put too much stock in the “top lists” published each year by several organizations, and all of which use different criteria to determine rankings.

“It’s always rewarding to see so many of our high schools highlighted by national publications such as Newsweek,” said Susan Hale, a spokesperson for Fulton Schools. “But there are so many indicators of what makes a great school. Our district’s strategic focus is to improve graduation rates and prepare students for college and the workforce. When we achieve those goals, all of our schools will be recognized as top schools.”

Newsweek’s top schools in Georgia

School (national rank)

1. Columbus Liberal Arts Magnet (105)

2. Davidson Fine Arts (176)

3. Northview (197)

4. Walton (Cobb) (203)

5. Johns Creek (214)

6. Pope (Cobb) (377)

7. Chattahoochee (518)

8. Sequoyah (Cherokee) (580)

9. Harrison (Cobb) (641)

10. Parkview (Gwinnett) (665)

11. Kennesaw Mountain (Cobb) (728)

12. Alpharetta (739)

13. Oconee County (787)

14. Lassiter (Cobb) (797)

15. North Gwinnett (808)

16. North Oconee (820)

17. Starr’s Mill (Fayette) (869)

18. West Forsyth (893)

19. Centennial (913)

20. Buford (928)

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