Local school rank onto 2022 best schools list

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Schools remain in the top 6 percent in the U.S.

By Trisha Anas

Special to The Malibu Times

Malibu High School has been ranked 1,170th out of around 18,000 public schools in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, while Santa Monica High School ranked 829th.

In the rankings for California, Malibu placed at 176, while Santa Monica was at 108.

One of three schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, MHS, along with Santa Monica High School, experienced a decrease, dropping from their 999th national rank last year. Santa Monica dropped from 708.

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According to the U.S. News, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company determined rankings and percentages by weighing scores across six indicators of the school’s quality in coordination with the global nonprofit social science research firm, RTI International.

These factors included college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates. The overall scores are measured based on how well each school did on a national percentile basis.

The website reports that because most schools were closed beginning in March 2020, the U.S. Department of Education granted waivers allowing all states to forgo state testing for the 2019-2020 school year.

MHS previously ranked 146 in California for the 2018-19 school year.

In an email, Malibu High School Principal Patrick Miller wrote that despite the difficult circumstances, both staff and students have continued to work diligently.

“I am extremely proud of all of their efforts. MHS and the Malibu community can continue to be proud of where MHS ranks and what we do at MHS,” Miller wrote. “But, I also think we all know that our goal is to be better, to be great.”

Miller also wrote that MHS does its best to prepare its students for college and higher education.

“Malibu High School is a great place to teach and to learn,” Miller wrote. “For a school our size, the variety of electives and coursework, including 16 [advanced placement] courses, is very impressive. Our students continue to go on to great colleges, go on to get great jobs and go on to be great people.”

This year’s data was combined with historic assessment data from three prior ranking years. 

“In contrast to state assessments, ranking factors pertaining to graduation rates and college readiness incorporated 2019-2020 cohorts,” U.S. News reports. “This means 50 percent of the ranking calculations used completely new data.”

The U.S. News and World Report said that it collected data as far back as the 2016-17 school year to take into consideration and determine the 2022 rankings.

U.S. News said that its AP examination data, collected from The College Board, was used in the analysis for grade 12 students in the 2019-20 school year. The publication also collected information from the International Baccalaureate for IB examination data.

The scores from the AP and IB exams contribute to the College Readiness Index (CRI) scores, which includes participation rates and quality-adjusted participation rates.

The participation rate is the number of grade 12 students who took at least one AP or IB exam, while the quality-adjusted participation rate is the number of those students who took and received a qualifying score divided by the number of seniors at that school.

U.S. News also said that for transparency, indicator ranks that explain how each public school performed nationally is included on each of its directories.

This year, MHS’s graduation rate remains at 95 percent, which U.S. News reported, was somewhat above the state average, while their AP participation rate is 70 percent. 

The school’s CRI ranking was 719 in the nation and 117 in the state.

MHS currently offers 17 AP class options to its students. According to an article published by the College Transitions, that’s surpassing the national average of 8.

Santa Monica High currently offers 20 AP courses.

For the state assessment performance category, MHS scored higher in its mathematics, reading and science tests than other California school averages.

In a press release from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati wrote a statement congratulating the schools for their acknowledgment.

“This recognition by a highly respected publication illustrates that our stellar teachers, staff and leaders are truly supporting and preparing our students for college and career,” Drati wrote. “We congratulate each school site team and our students for their hard work, dedication and forward-thinking.”

Miller wrote that MHS values anytime they are acknowledged for their efforts.

“We are always excited when Malibu High School is recognized, and this recognition by U.S. News and World Report as a top high school is certainly appreciated,” Miller wrote.

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