Newly published rankings place Paly among top schools

Noa Braun, Author

Palo Alto High School’s national school rank drops, despite remaining among the top 200 public schools in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s annual school survey.

In addition to receiving a national standing, Paly also ranked under the titles ‘Most Connected,’ (No.81) ‘State Rank’ (No. 29) and ‘STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] rank’ (N0. 21).

Paly’s national ranking decreased from No. 83 in the nation to No. 152, stayed at the same ranking for ‘Most Connected’ (No. 81) and saw in improvement in math and science rankings (STEM) from No. 54, last year, to No. 21.

According to the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings, “nearly 22,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia” were surveyed.

The report awarded gold, silver or bronze medals to schools based on “state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college and other factors,” according to the website.

Of the 22,000 schools that were nationally ranked, Paly placed No. 152 on a national scale and No. 29 on a statewide scale. Last year, Paly ranked N0.83 on a national scale.

The ranking was conducted through a three-step process, according to the methodology report given by U.S News & World Report.

“The first two steps ensured that the schools serve all of their students well, using performance on state proficiency tests as the benchmarks,” the website reads. “For those schools that made it past the first two steps, a third step assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.”

Although Paly’s national ranking dropped, Principal Phil Winston does not believe that much attention should be paid to such ranking systems.

“I’m not sure it serves any purpose,” Winston said. “It feeds into the hysteria and stress that surrounds school, and I don’t think it’s beneficial.”

Further, Winston expressed that paying attention to solely the adjustment of the rankings may prevent schools from legitimately teaching content to the student-body.

“I’m not interested in producing robots and people that can take tests,” Winston said. “I understand that to a certain extent that is part of my job because that’s the way that society has evolved. I don’t have to agree with it, but we try to combat that as often as possible.”