Top High Schools With the Most Minority, Disadvantaged Students

California had the most gold medal winners that serve primarily disadvantaged and minority students.

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California had more gold medal high schools with high proportions of low-income and minority students enrolled than any other state.
California had more gold medal high schools with high proportions of low-income and minority students enrolled than any other state.

There were many gold medal public high schools – which ranked in the top 500 in the U.S. News 2013 Best High Schools rankings – that had large proportions of economically disadvantaged students or very high percentages of minority students enrolled.

U.S. News has created two separate lists to profile the top-performing schools with these characteristics.

The first list below is of the 25 gold medal schools that had the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled. This classification, a measure of poverty, is determined by the percent of students enrolled at a high school who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch.

The Preuss School in California was first with 99.6 percent of its students in poverty. California had 14 high schools on the list with the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students, by far the most of any state.

New York had the second-highest number with four, and Texas was third with three high schools.

The second group below is of the 25 gold medal schools that had the highest percentage of minority students enrolled. For the purposes of this list, minorities are defined as students at the schools who said that they were either American Indian, Asian, black, Hawaii Native or Pacific Islander, Hispanic or from two or more races.

There were seven high schools on the list where 100 percent of students were minorities. California had 11 high schools with the highest percentages of minority students, by far the most of any state. Texas had the second highest number with seven and New York was third, with three high schools on the list.

How did these schools become top-ranked high schools?

A key part of the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings methodology is designed to measure whether high schools have performed better than expected given their socioeconomic characteristics, not just whether they have the absolute highest performance in their state.

The Best High Schools rankings are based on the tenet that a great high school must serve all of its students well, and that key principle is built into its three-step methodology. Steps one and two of the methodology were based on state-by-state analyses designed to evaluate high schools on the performance of all of their students on state assessments.

Step one identified high schools within each state that performed better on state reading and mathematics assessments than their poverty level would lead one to expect. The second step identified high schools with disadvantaged student subgroups – black, Hispanic and low-income – that performed better than the state average for these subgroups.

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.

Note: The economically disadvantaged and minority student enrollment percentages are from the 2010–2011 school year, based on data reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data.

School name (state) Gold medal rank Percent of economically disadvantaged students enrolled
The Preuss School (CA)  30 99.6
South Valley Academy (NM)  429 98.7
High School For Law & Public Service (NY)  492 98.5
Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School (CA)  95 96.6
Wallis Annenberg High (CA)  497 96.0
Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics (NY)  301 96.0
High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies (NY)  35 95.9
Manhattan Bridges High School (NY)  220 95.0
Ánimo Oscar De La Hoya Charter High School (CA)  280 93.6
Roseland University Prep (CA)  290 90.1
Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science School (CA)  143 89.8
Kipp Houston High School (TX)  65 89.5
Gertz-Ressler High School (CA)  243 88.7
IDEA Academy and College Preparatory School (TX)  150 87.4
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy (IL)  374 86.9
IDEA Frontier College Preparatory (TX)  60 85.8
Downtown Magnets High School (CA)  423 83.6
American Indian Public High School (CA)  38 83.4
Downtown College Preparatory (CA)  210 83.0
Community Charter Early College High School (CA)  172 82.7
Elizabeth High School (NJ)  183 82.4
Lennox Mathematics, Science & Technology Academy (CA)  39 81.9
Hawthorne Math and Science Academy (CA)  89 81.4
Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School (CA)  203 80.3
Somerset High School (FL)  308 79.9
School name (state) Gold medal rank Percent of minority students enrolled
Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics (NY)  301 100.0
Manhattan Bridges High School (NY)   220 100.0
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School (DC)  461 100.0
Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy (CA)  475 100.0
Ánimo Oscar De La Hoya Charter High School (CA)  280 100.0
Gertz-Ressler High School (CA)  243 100.0
Lennox Mathematics, Science & Technology Academy (CA)  39 100.0
Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science School (CA)  143 99.8
Wallis Annenberg High (CA)  497 99.8
Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School (CA)  95 99.8
North Star Academy Cs Of Newark (NJ)  253 99.7
IDEA Academy and College Preparatory School (TX)  150 99.6
YES Prep North Central (TX)  46 99.5
American Indian Public High School (CA)  38 99.3
Kipp Houston High School (TX)  65 99.2
Williams Preparatory (TX)  398 99.2
Eastwood Academy High School (TX)  56 99.2
Community Charter Early College High School (CA)  172 99.1
Laredo Early College High School (TX)  97 99.0
High School For Law & Public Service (NY)  492 99.0
Yes Prep - Southwest Campus (TX)  66 98.8
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy (IL)  374 98.7
South Valley Academy (NM)  429 98.7
Downtown Magnets High School (CA)  423 98.5
Downtown College Preparatory (CA)  210 98.1