Having a good high school education is crucial because it prepares students for adult life, whether that includes college or going into a profession. In general, New York State gets high marks for education, ranking 12th among the states with the best school systems. But some public high schools within New York are better than others, and these discrepancies may have been exacerbated during the learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to determine the best public high schools in New York State, WalletHub compared over 1,200 institutions across 26 key metrics. In addition to academic performance, our data set also considers factors like the school’s social environment, diversity and staff. This helps to give a clear overall picture of how each school supports its students with more than just knowledge.
2021’s Best Public High Schools in New York State
|Overall Rank*||Percentile (99=Best)||High School||Total Score**||College Readiness||School Experience||Diversity||Teacher & Staff|
|1||99||Stuyvesant High School||76.5||1||709||236||395|
|2||99||Valley Stream Central High School||76.22||71||626||11||166|
|3||99||Staten Island Technical High School||75.8||2||713||106||704|
|4||99||Townsend Harris High School||75.53||4||655||47||744|
|5||99||Valley Stream South High School||75.28||92||724||25||93|
|6||99||Half Hollow Hills High School East||75.2||25||183||337||117|
|7||99||High School Math Science and Engineering at CCNY||74.41||7||722||1||937|
|8||99||Nyack Senior High School||74.24||243||28||86||90|
|9||99||Syosset Senior High School||74.24||11||30||922||58|
|10||99||Oyster Bay High School||74.16||89||48||309||43|
|11||99||Great Neck South High School||73.87||33||57||356||288|
|12||99||Valley Stream North High School||73.81||207||403||46||108|
|13||99||Bard High School Early College Queens||73.56||9||660||9||972|
|14||99||Spackenkill High School||73.46||156||268||184||16|
|15||99||W Tresper Clarke High School||73.43||59||304||216||239|
|16||99||Jericho Senior High School||73.4||12||137||540||295|
|17||99||Sewanhaka High School||73.33||223||518||18||167|
|18||99||Brooklyn Technical High School||73.26||13||952||115||473|
|19||98||Half Hollow Hills High School West||73.11||52||67||262||463|
|20||98||East Meadow High School||72.83||97||274||204||255|
|21||98||Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School||72.82||44||286||373||169|
|22||98||Babylon Junior-Senior High School||72.77||109||5||862||1|
|23||98||West Hempstead High School||72.69||253||344||14||291|
|24||98||Bay Shore Senior High School||72.63||494||92||43||41|
|25||98||Floral Park Memorial High School||72.59||112||543||158||154|
|26||98||New Hyde Park Memorial High School||72.41||110||530||161||198|
|27||98||Southampton High School||72.41||245||210||71||231|
|28||98||Hendrick Hudson High School||72.39||161||63||297||54|
|29||98||Suffern Senior High School||72.37||154||438||255||4|
|30||98||Bronx High School of Science||72.36||6||736||139||889|
*Note: With the exception of “Total Score” and “Percentile,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of high schools, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.
**Note: For readability, the above table displays only the top 500 out of 1,220 high schools included in the ranking.
*** Note: Some high schools were excluded from our sample due to data limitations. If you would like to have your public high school included in the 2022 ranking please contact us at: [email protected]
Ask the Experts
In order to shed more light on what makes the best public high school, as well as what steps we can take to deliver quality schooling to everyone, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to see their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- Does per pupil expenditure bear a significant relationship to educational quality?
- How important is the quality of the school for a fruitful development and future opportunities, compared to other external factors?
- What are the biggest educational challenges the pandemic has brought to light and what are the steps to overcome them?
- What would it take to deliver educational equity of resources to all students (from various backgrounds, income groups etc.)?
- In evaluating the quality of high schools, what are the top five indicators?
Ask the Experts
In order to determine the best public high schools in New York state, WalletHub compared 1,220 public high schools across four key dimensions: 1) College Readiness, 2) School Experience, 3) Diversity and 4) Teacher & Staff.
We evaluated those dimensions using 26 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best high school performance and the most favorable conditions for high school students during and after attendance.
Finally, we determined each high school’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
In constructing our sample, we selected public schools that had a 9th through 12th grade enrollment of 20 students or greater and that offered the 12th grade as the highest grade, during the 2018-2019 school year.
Some institutions were excluded from our sample due to data limitations. In some cases, data was not available for grades 9 through 12 only, and thus overall data was used. For metrics marked with an asterisk (*), we used overall data which does not apply to high school students exclusively but evaluates the overall quality and performance of institutions in our sample.
College Readiness – Total Points: 40
- 4-year High School Graduation Rate: Triple Weight (~8.28 Points)
Note: Graduation rates reflect how many students graduate from this school on time.
- New York State Common Core Regents Exam Scores: Full Weight (~2.76 Points)
Note: This is a composite metric referring to the share of students scoring at or above proficiency level for Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and English (ELA).
- Share of Students Taking at Least 1 AP Course: Double Weight (~5.52 Points)
Note: Advanced Placement classes are college-level courses students can take in high school. The share of students taking AP classes may reflect whether the school culture is focused on college.
- Share of Students Taking SAT or ACT During School Year: Full Weight (~2.76 Points)
- Share of Students Enrolled in Dual Enrollment Classes: Half Weight (~1.38 Points)
Note: The dual enrollment participation rate reflects the percentage of students who are taking college courses while in high school. Credits for these courses apply both to high school diploma requirements and college graduation requisites.
- Share of Students Repeating a Grade: Double Weight (~5.52 Points)
Note: This metric refers to students who need to repeat the same grade rather than graduating to the next. In high school, a student who has not accumulated enough credits to be classified as being in the next grade is considered to be repeating a grade.
- Share of National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalist Students: Full Weight (~2.76 Points)
- Share of Students Planning to Pursue 4-year College: Triple Weight (~8.28 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the share of high school graduates who planned to enroll in four-year colleges.
- Share of Students Planning to Pursue 2-year College: Half Weight (~1.38 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the share of high school graduates who planned to enroll in two-year colleges.
- Share of Students Planning to Pursue Other College: Half Weight (~1.38 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the share of high school graduates who planned to enroll in other post-secondary institutions.
School Experience – Total Points: 20
- Student-teacher Ratio*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Student-counselor Ratio*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: “School Counselor” refers to a professional staff member assigned specific duties and school time for any of the following activities: counseling with students and parents, consulting with other staff members on learning problems, evaluating student abilities, assisting students in making education and career choices, assisting students in personal and social development, providing referral assistance, and/or working with other staff members in planning and conducting guidance programs for students.
- Share of Chronically Absent Students*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: This metric refers to students who are absent 15 or more school days during the school year. A student is absent if they are not physically on school grounds and are not participating in instruction or instruction-related activities at an approved off-grounds location for at least half the school day.
- Share of Students Referred to Law Enforcement*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: Referral to law enforcement is an action by which a student is reported to any law enforcement agency or official, including a school police unit, for an incident that occurs on school grounds, during school related events, or while taking school transportation, regardless of whether official action is taken. Citations, tickets, court referrals, and school-related arrests are considered referrals to law enforcement.
- Non-personnel School Expenditures per Pupil*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: Non-personnel school expenditures may include (but are not limited to) the following types of expenditures: professional development for teachers and other staff; instructional materials and supplies; computers, software, and other technology; contracted services such as distance learning services; and library books and media center learning materials.
- Sports Participation*: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: This is a composite metric, which includes the interscholastic athletics participation rate and the number of interscholastic athletics teams for each high school.
Diversity – Total Points: 20
- Racial Diversity: Full Weight (~10.00 Points)
Note: This metric is based on the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index method, a commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity. The racial categories considered are the following:
- American Indian/Alaska Native
- Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander
- Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander
- Economic Diversity*: Full Weight (~10.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to economically disadvantaged students and is based on the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index method, a commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity.
Teachers & Staff – Total Points: 20
- Teacher Salary Expenditure*: Double Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted by the cost-of-living index.
- Share of Teachers with 3 or More Years of Experience*: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
Note: “Experience” includes teaching in any school, subject, or grade; it does not have to be in the school, subject, or grade that the teacher is presently teaching.
- Share of Certified Teachers*: Triple Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the share of full-time teachers who have met all applicable state standard teacher certification requirements.
- Share of Teachers Teaching Outside of Their Field*: Double Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Presence of Registered Nurse on Staff*: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of a part-time or full-time registered nurse on staff.
- Presence of Psychologist on Staff*: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of a part-time or full-time psychologist on staff.
- Presence of Social Worker on Staff*: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of a part-time or full-time licensed social worker on staff.
- Presence of Law Enforcement Officer on Campus and/or a Security Guard on Staff*: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
Note: This composite binary metric considers the presence or absence of a part-time or full-time sworn law officer and/or presence of a part-time or full-time security guard on staff.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from The New York State Education Department, The Civil Rights Data Collection, The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, The National Center for Education Statistics and AreaVibes.