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April 28, 2021

Masterman High School remains among top 20 schools in U.S. and best in Pennsylvania

Downingtown STEM and Central High School also scored highly on U.S. News & World Report's 2021 rankings

Education High Schools
Masterman best high schools Street View/Google Maps

Philadelphia's Masterman High School, pictured above, is ranked the best high school in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report. In second is Downingtown STEM Academy in Chester County and Central High School in Philly in third.

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:

  1. Julia R. Masterman Secondary School, Philadelphia (18)
  2. Downingtown STEM Academy, Downingtown, Chester County (34)
  3. Central High School, Philadelphia (229)
  4. Radnor High School, Radnor, Delaware County (265)
  5. Conestoga High School, Berwyn, Chester County (294)
  6. Unionville High School, Kennett Square, Chester County (317)
  7. Hampton High School, Allison Park, Allegheny County (372)
  8. Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh (415)
  9. Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, Erie, Erie County (439)
  10. Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, Montgomery County (503)

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:

  1. Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, Edison, Middlesex County (27)
  2. High Technology High School, Lincroft, Monmouth County (53)
  3. Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, Bergen County (54)
  4. Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health, Woodbridge, Middlesex(61)
  5. Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School, Jersey City, Hudson County (73)
  6. Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains, Union County (83)
  7. Biotechnology High School, Freehold, Monmouth (91)
  8. Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro, Bergen County (92)
  9. Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains, Union County (123)
  10. Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains, Union County (158)

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.

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