US News and World Report has just launched its third annual list of America's best high schools and this year there is a big acknowledgment for an inner city public high school in the San Diego Unified School District.
The School of International Studies at San Diego High is ranked 44th in the nation for high schools.
Of the more than 21,000 public high schools examined by US News, more than 1,700 were recognized for outperforming state standards. In that group, 561 schools were found to be doing an excellent job of preparing students for college.
California leads the nation this year with 110 high schools that earned recognition. The School of International Studies is among them.
“I am happy, full of excitement, proud of all our accomplishments that we were able to do this,” student Tiler Kerns.
U.S. News considers how many Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams are taken by the senior class and the passage rate. The diversity of the program is also considered -- ethnically, socio-economically and academically.
The coordinator of the school's International Baccalaureate program says this is a big acknowledgement for an inner city public school, where half the students come from the neighborhood.
“We're smack dab in the center of San Diego,” International Baccalaureate coordinator Nirit Vard said. “We have students we know are prepared. They are critical thinkers, they are strong readers and they can write.”
Students credit teachers and the school's positive environment for making the difference.
“Just the connection between students and teachers and you really become passionate about what you're learning,” student Seth Lawrence said.
The other school on the list is the Preuss School in La Jolla, which ranked 32nd overall and ninth among charter schools.
The principal at Preuss said 100 percent of the students are low income and their parents have not gone to college. Yet, he says for the past six years, more than 90 percent of Preuss students have gone on to a four-year school.