Jericho High School is in the top 200 nationally in...

Jericho High School is in the top 200 nationally in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of "Best High Schools." Manhasset, Garden City and Great Neck South are among those in the top 300. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Four public high schools on Long Island are in the top 300 nationally in U.S. News & World Report's annual list of "Best High Schools," released Tuesday, which this year reflects a huge increase in the number of schools named in the rankings.

Jericho High School leads the way among the Island’s schools, placing 134th nationally and 17th in the state, and is the only one on the Island in the top 200.

The other three Long Island schools in the top 300 are Garden City High School, Great Neck South High School and Manhasset High School. Garden City ranks 214th nationally and 25th in the state, while Great Neck South places 222nd in the nation and 26th in the state, and Manhasset ranks 228th in the nation and 28th in the state.

The top national high school on the list is Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, South Carolina. The No. 1-ranked school in New York State is Townsend Harris High School, a public magnet high school for the humanities in Flushing, Queens.

This year, U.S. News & World Report made changes in its methodology and expanded the number of schools it ranks from 2,700 to 17,245, out of more than 23,000 reviewed.

“By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students — including historically underserved populations,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News.

The 2019 “Best High Schools” ranking considered six indicators: college readiness; the breadth of college-level curriculum; math and reading proficiency; math and reading performance; learning outcomes and performance among underserved students; and graduation rates.

About 15 years ago, the Jericho school district eliminated entrance requirements for Advanced Placement courses and offered open enrollment, said Superintendent Henry L. Grishman. “And the number of kids participating took off,” he said.

Now, at least 92 percent of Jericho High School students have taken at least one AP course before graduation. Research shows that students who take even one such course often do well in postsecondary education, Grishman noted.

The high school, which has about 1,100 students, is staffed by teachers and employees who are “exceptional in their commitment to the profession,” Grishman said. “Walk in before or after school and the number of kids and staff working together is incredible.”

U.S. News' new methodology assigns weights to the six factors and produces an overall score that determines the ranking. Previously, a four-step process was used, in which the final step used college readiness as the basis of a school’s ranking.

In a release accompanying the rankings, U.S. News explained, "With the revamped methodology, most schools' ranks changed significantly between 2018 and 2019 because of the broader competition in terms of the number of schools being newly ranked — more than 14,500. Consequently, a school's rise or fall in the 2019 rankings does not necessarily reflect a difference in its underlying data. Since the methodology changed so significantly this year, a school's ranking in the 2019 Best High Schools ranking can't be compared with its rankings in any previous U.S. News ranking."

Last year, six high schools on Long Island were in U.S. News’ top 200 nationally, with Jericho placing highest among them at 98th in the nation and 16th in the state. The other five, with their 2018 national and state rankings, were Cold Spring Harbor High School (143/21); Garden City (169/24); The Wheatley School in the East Williston school district (180/27); Great Neck South (195/29); and Manhasset (200/31).

The first list of U.S. News "Best High Schools" was posted online on Nov. 30, 2007, the organization said.

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