For the first time in five years, there’s a new top-ranked high school in Lancaster County.
U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday released its annual Best High Schools list, which ranks Lampeter-Strasburg High School atop the county’s 18 public high schools and 53rd in the state.
The county’s top 5 also includes Manheim Township (62nd in the state), Conestoga Valley (85th), Hempfield (89th) and Cocalico (100th).
Penn Manor, the reigning champion since 2015, dropped to sixth place.
U.S. News has published high school rankings since 2007. Using data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education and The College Board, it scores high schools from zero to 100 based on student performance in reading and math state assessments, graduation rates and student success on advanced placement and International Baccalaureate tests.
With help from the North Carolina-based social science research firm RTI International, the magazine evaluated nearly every public high school in the nation — more than 17,000 this year, up from more than 2,700 last year.
U.S. News also considers performance among underserved students. However, schools with high percentages of low-income students and nonwhite students typically tend to fall toward the bottom of the rankings.
Take the county’s bottom two this year: Columbia and La Academia Partnership Charter School.
Columbia’s percentages of economically disadvantaged students (61%) and nonwhite students (44%) are the third-highest in the county. La Academia tops the county in economically disadvantaged students (96%) and nonwhite students (97%).
Lampeter-Strasburg, meanwhile, has the county’s lowest percentage of low-income students (23%) and is tied for the highest percentage of white students (88%).
Among the high-achieving high schools near, but outside of, Lancaster County, according to U.S. News, are York Suburban (ranked 44th in the state) and Palmyra Area (72nd) in Lebanon County. Chester County is home to several highly ranked schools, including Downingtown STEM Academy, which ranked 2nd in the state and 29th in the U.S.
Pennsylvania’s top school, U.S. News says, is Julia R. Masterman Secondary School in Philadelphia. The list’s top school in the U.S. is Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina.