By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Vandegrift is among five of the Austin-area schools that are top of their class among public and private high schools in Texas.
Published by education website Niche, the best high schools in the state were ranked recently and young VHS finds itself in the No. 10 spot after only opening in 2009.
“Since we are compared to all traditional public high schools, it is a significant achievement to be in the top 10 schools in Texas,” said Charlie Little, Vandegrift principal.
Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts & Science Academy ranks No. 2, followed by Westlake High School (Eanes ISD), No. 4; Westwood High School (Round Rock ISD), No. 8; and Vandegrift High School (Leander ISD), No. 10.
One Austin school appears on the list of Texas’ top private schools: St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, at No. 5.
The Niche Best High Schools ranking is a newer recognition program based on a “rigorous analysis of academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores, college data” with a more holistic scoring that takes in more objective data like student/parent perceptual factors other than just AP and EOC test scores.
“As any student or parent knows, it is almost impossible to factor in all of the variables that make a school unique, and when we try to reduce the student experience down to one numeric value, it does a disservice to all of the other work that makes a high school exceptional,” Little said.
“For Vandegrift, I feel we offer the highest quality fine arts, STEM, and athletic programs that reach every student in their area of interest,” Little added. “So, I appreciate that Niche uses the student/parent experience data and the following factors beyond the academic scores in making its determinations.”
Niche ranks public high schools based on factors such as state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and Niche user ratings.
“Our 2022 rankings come at a time when so many parents are curious about the different options for their children’s education, including some they may never have considered before,” Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche, said in a news release.
As for the best school districts in Texas, Eanes ISD – home of Westlake High School – grabs the top spot, but Dallas-Fort Worth dominates the rest of the top 10:
1. Eanes ISD (Austin)
2. South Texas ISD (Mercedes)
3. Highland Park ISD (Dallas)
4. Carroll ISD (Southlake)
5. Coppell ISD (Coppell)
6. Lovejoy ISD (Allen)
7. Frisco ISD (Frisco)
8. Argyle ISD (Argyle)
9. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD (Grapevine)
10. Allen ISD (Allen)
In the national rankings, Eanes ISD came in at No. 11 overall among school districts. Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts & Science Academy was ranked as the 19th best public high school in the country, Westlake High School was No. 53, Westwood at No. 119 and Vandegrift at No. 138.
The Davidson Academy in Reno, Nev. was ranked the No. 1 public high school in America, while Adlai E. Stevenson High School District in Lincolnshire, Ill. made the list as the top overall school district in the country.
Hill Country News contributed to this report.