April 21, 2020
For the second consecutive year, Julia R. Masterman High School in Philadelphia has been named the best in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report, which also placed the Center City magnet school among the top 20 in the country.
The annual ranking examines data from more than 24,000 high schools across the United States, 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.
Masterman High School, which ranked 22nd in the country last year, moved up to No. 16 in 2020, with an overall score of 99.91/100. The school's math and reading performance rank tied for best in the country, while its college readiness index rank was second in Pennsylvania and 69th in the United States.
In a span of just two years, Masterman has jumped from 86th in the country to 16th. Downingtown STEM Academy in Chester County, which ranked 29th last year, also climbed nine spots to 20th in the country in 2020, with an overall score of 99.89/100.
Here's a look at the top 10 high schools in Pennsylvania, with national rankings in parentheses:
1. Julia R. Masterman Secondary School, Philadelphia (16)
2. Downingtown STEM Academy, Downingtown (20)
3. Radnor High School, Radnor(211)
4. Conestoga High School, Berwyn (229)
5. Central High School, Philadelphia (275)
6. Unionville High School, Kennett Square (370)
7. Hampton High School, Allison Park (408)
8. Wissahickon High School, Ambler (423)
9. Strath Haven High School, Wallingford (424)
10. Hershey High School, Hershey (471)
Among this group, Masterman and Central are both public magnet schools that have a selective admissions process requiring students to submit applications.
A notable change in the 2020 state rankings is the emergence of more western Pennsylvania schools in the top 50, including Hampton High School in Allison Park.Allegheny County. While the majority of the top 50 are located in the greater Philadelphia area, other parts of the state are now better represented in the rankings.
Academy at Palumbo in South Philly (No. 1,028 nationally), Carver Engineering and Science High School in North Philly (No. 1,097), and Parkway-Center City Middle College in Callowhill (No. 1,703) round out the rankings’ top five among Philadelphia's public schools. Each of these three schools also are magnet schools.
In neighboring New Jersey, the vast majority of the top-ranked schools are in the northern and central portion of the state. The top 10, with their national ranks in parentheses, are linked below:
1. Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, Edison (33)
2. Bergen County Academies, Hackensack (46)
3. High Technology High School, Lincroft (57)
4. Dr. Ronald E McNair High School, Jersey City (67)
5. Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health, Woodbridge (70)
6. Biotechnology High School, Freehold (85)
7. Bergen County Technical High School, Teterboro (93)
8. Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains (130)
9. Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains (131)
10. Academy for Allied Health Sciences, Scotch Plains (207)
In South Jersey, the top three schools on U.S. News' list are Princeton High School at No. 15 (356 nationally), Haddonfield Memorial High School at No. 32 (729) and Point Pleasant Beach High School at No. 76 (1,737).
The top three high schools in the United States in 2020, according to U.S. News and World Report, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia; Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina; and Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville, Tennessee.