In an annual ranking of Utah high schools, six of the top ten spots this year went to charter schools.
For a typical year, it’s not unusual to see a charter come in at No. 1 in the analysis by U.S. News and World Report. InTech Collegiate High School — which was designated the best in Utah for 2019 — has now earned that title four times in the last eight years.
But never before in recent memory have a majority of the top nods gone to charters over traditional public high schools.
“It’s exciting. These are schools that we expect high achievement from,” said Royce Van Tassell, executive director for the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools. “It’s good to see the U.S. New report recognize the great stuff that’s happening here.”
The rankings are based on how a school’s students score on year-end tests in math and reading, how many graduate and how well prepared they are for college. They also account, in part, for the performance of those in minority and low-income populations.
Jason Stanger, principal of InTech Collegiate High School in North Logan, said coming in first this year shows that the charter is focused on pushing all of its students, particularly those from underserved communities, to succeed. In 2015, the school was disqualified from the rankings because not enough of its minority kids completed their standardized exams.
“That gives us some confidence that we’re doing things right,” Stanger added.
For the three years before that drop, the charter ranked No. 1. This year, it returns to that place and takes No. 273 nationwide. It saw similar high marks in the statewide grading system in 2019, with exemplary scores for achievement, growth and postsecondary readiness.
The school was followed in the statewide rankings by Beehive Science and Technology Academy, a charter in Sandy, and the Academy for Math Engineering and Science, a charter in Salt Lake City.
The top public high school to make the list was Davis High in Kaysville. It ranked No. 4 in the state. And the district also had Viewmont High come in at No. 7.
“It not only reflects the type of student we have but it reflects the type of families they come from, as well as the type of teachers in front of the classroom,” said Davis School District spokesman Christopher Williams. “That’s our expectation.”
Overall, 157 high schools in the state were on the list. Here are the rankings for the top 10 in Utah:
1. InTech Collegiate High School; charter, North Logan
2. Beehive Science and Technology Academy; charter, Sandy
3. Academy for Math Engineering and Science; charter, Salt Lake City
4. Davis High; Davis School District, Kaysville
5. Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy; charter, Lindon
6. Corner Canyon High School; Canyons Schools District, Draper
7. Viewmont High; Davis School District, Bountiful
8. Northern Utah Academy for Math Engineering and Science; charter, Layton
9. Skyline High; Granite School District, Millcreek
10. Itineris Early College High; charter, West Jordan