Downey, Warren included in list of nation's top high schools

DOWNEY — Downey and Warren high schools have been named to U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best high schools in the United States for 2019.

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The ranking is based on data from more than 23,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Downey Unified’s comprehensive high schools were in the top 15 percent of all high schools nationwide, ranking No. 3,586 (Downey High) and No. 3,192 (Warren High).

At the end of April, U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, announced the 2019 Best High Schools – a new, revamped edition of the rankings, providing the most comprehensive evaluation of America's public high schools ever produced by U.S. News.

"Our mission with the Best High Schools rankings has always been to educate families about the schools in their district," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, in a release published by U.S. News & World Report on April 30.

"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."

The 2019 Best High Schools rankings take a holistic approach to evaluating schools, looking at six factors: college readiness, reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates. Specifically, college readiness measures participation and performance on AP and IB exams. Warren High School was ranked No. 469 and Downey High School No. 519 compared to approximately 1,350 regular/comprehensive public high schools and 259 public charter high schools in California.

“Our vision is to graduate all students with a 21st Century education that guarantees they are college and career ready,” expressed Downey Unified Superintendent, Dr. John Garcia. “Having our two comprehensive high schools ranked in the top 15 percent nationally is a testament to the amazing work we are doing here in Downey Unified, not just at the high school level but district wide as well.”

Downey High School students at the annual Vikings Awards Ceremony.

Downey High School students at the annual Vikings Awards Ceremony.

The Downey Unified School District has 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools and one adult school that are led by the district’s vision. Students are taught 21st Century skills that implement technology, collaboration, communication and citizenship. The offerings that are available to Downey Unified students continue to increase each year due to various state allocated program specific budgets and grants, such as the LCAP and most recently the K12 Strong Workforce grant.

Warren High School senior Fausto Miguel Rojas receiving the Grand Gold Bear Award at Warren’s Golden Bear Awards Ceremony.

Warren High School senior Fausto Miguel Rojas receiving the Grand Gold Bear Award at Warren’s Golden Bear Awards Ceremony.

Some examples of offerings that can be found in Downey Unified that are unique from surrounding districts include: Kindergarten through 12th grade robotics; the Femineer program, an engineering program that focuses on engaging middle and high school female students; and over a dozen industry aligned pathways and courses that are available to high school students that provide them with real-world, hands-on work experience as well as third- party certifications.

Included in these pathways are state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities that allow students to practice these skills using the equipment and software that is currently being used by industry professionals.

For example, students enrolled in the automotive engineering pathway spend their time working under the hood of cars that that are stationed in repair bays that are equipped with the latest automotive technology.

The Best High Schools rankings are available exclusively on usnews.com and include data on a variety of factors, such as enrollment, student diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs, graduation rates and the results of state assessments. U.S. News worked with RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive ranking methodology.

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