April 28, 2021
Julia R. Masterman High School was named the best school Pennsylvania for a third straight year in U.S. News & World Report's 2021 rankings of the nation's top high schools released on Tuesday.
In the state rankings, Masterman, which is in the city's Spring Garden neighborhood was again followed by Downingtown STEM Academy in Chester County in second place. Central High School, the second oldest high school in the U.S. and located in Philadelphia's Logan neighborhood, ranked third in Pennsylvania.
All three high schools are public magnet schools that require students apply for admission.
Masterman was ranked as the 16th best high school in the United States in 2020, but dropped back to No. 18 on 2021's list with an overall score of 99.9/100. The school's math and reading proficiency and performance rankings, as well as its graduation rate, are tied for the best nationally. Its college readiness index ranks second in Pennsylvania and 92nd in the U.S.
Downingtown STEM Academy, which ranked 20th in the U.S. in 2020, fell back 14 spots to No. 34 in the country on this years list. With an overall score of 99.81/100.
Central High's state and national rankings improved in 2021. The school rose from fifth to third in Pennsylvania and jumped from 275th to 229th nationally.
Seven of the 10 best schools in Pennsylvania are in the Philly region; notably Lower Merion High School in Montgomery County also moved back into the top 10 in the state this year. Here are top 10 high schools in Pennsylvania with their national rankings in parentheses:
Among School District Philadelphia high schools, rounding out the top five behind Masterman and Central are Academy at Palumbo in South Philly (No. 852 nationally), Carver Engineering and Science High School in North Philly (No. 1,037) and Girard Academy Music Program in South Philly (No. 1,456).
Across the river in New Jersey, the vast majority of the state's top-ranked schools are in the northern and central portions of the state. Below are the top 10 high schools in New Jersey, with their national rankings in parentheses. U.S News' complete rankig of New Jersey High Schools can be found here:
The top three South Jersey high schools in the state, according to the rankings, are Haddonfield Memorial High School at No. 39 (No. 874 nationally); Cherry Hill High School East at No. 52 (No. 1,222); and Moorestown High School at No. 54 (No. 1,246).
U.S. News & World Report's best high schools in the country in 2021 are Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia.; Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina; and The Davidson Academy of Nevada in Reno, Nevada.
The annual rankings published by U.S. News & World Report look at data from more than 24,000 high schools across the country. factoring in metrics such as graduation rates and college readiness, math and reading proficiency, the performance of underserved students and success with state standardized tests.