Bay Area high school nabs top spot in list of best California public schools

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Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto was awarded first place for the best public high school in California.

Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto was awarded first place for the best public high school in California.

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Two Bay Area schools cracked the top 10 in a list of the best private high schools in the United States, according to new rankings from Niche, a website providing information on schools and colleges for parents and students. Niche released its annual rankings of top schools in the United States this week.?

The College Preparatory School in Oakland ranked eighth and the Nueva School in Hillsborough came in at No. 10.

While none of the Bay Area public schools ranked in the top 10 for the entire country, Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto was named the No. 1 public school in California.?

Niche creates separate lists for private and public schools, and touts its rankings as being different from other ones by taking into account the input the site collects from students, alumni and parents. Niche analyzes dozens of other data points to reach each year’s rankings, including metrics on SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider and student-teacher ratio, sourced from the U.S. Department of Education.

College Preparatory School and the Nueva School also made the top 10 last year. College Prep has 370 students with 69% self-identifying as students of color, the school's website says. The average SAT score at the high school is 1480 and the student-teacher ratio is seven to one, according to Niche. Tuition costs $51,990 a year.

Nueva offers pre-K through 12th grade. Its high school has a student body of 448 with a student-teacher ratio of six to one. Among all its campuses, 64% of students are of color, its website says. The high school costs $55,750 a year. Expanding beyond the top-10 private schools in the U.S., Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough ranked No. 16 and Castilleja School in Palo Alto ranked No. 18.

Gunn High School was also the top public school in the state last year. It's part of the Palo Alto Unified School District and has about 1,900 students with a student-teacher ratio of 19 to 1.

The Stanford Online High School was named No. 1 Best Online High School in America for the fifth year in a row. Online schools have no brick-and-mortar presence and schools that held remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic do not qualify.