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National rankings show Highland Park High School among top-rated open enrollment schools in the country

Because of differing methodologies to determine school rankings, HPHS climbed 55 places in one national ranking but dropped 32 places in another.
The 2022 Challenge Index rankings released today show Highland Park High School ranked as the 118th high school in the country, up from 173rd in 2020. It also shows HPHS as the highest-ranked open enrollment high school in Texas and in the top ten (7th) among open enrollment high schools in the country. Schools ranked in the top 220 are in the top 1 percent of America’s 22,000 high schools.
The Challenge Index criteria has remained unchanged since it was started in 1998 for Newsweek and The Washington Post by columnist Jay Mathews. It is the oldest high school ranking system in the country and is the only list that compares private and public schools. The Challenge Index ranks schools by a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge tests given at a school each year divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. The vast majority of schools at the top of the 2022 Challenge Index list are either magnet or charter schools that have admission requirements for students to be able to attend. This year’s list can be found here.
“Students from Highland Park High School benefit from the rigorous AP course offerings provided by our outstanding staff,” HPHS Principal Jeremy Gilbert said. “As a result, our Scot graduates are not only attending but thriving at some of the top colleges and universities in the country.”
The Challenge Index is just one measure that ranks schools. U.S. News and World Report also released rankings this week showing HPHS ranked 281st in the country among all high schools, including charter schools and specialized academies, and 2nd among open enrollment public high schools in Texas. The methodology for U.S. News and World Report was changed significantly in 2019 to factor in underserved student performance and adjusted again this year to account for the impact that COVID-19 had on schools during the 2019-20 school year. Similar to the Challenge Index, the vast majority of schools rated higher than HPHS are charter or magnet schools that have admission requirements. Its ratings can be found here.
“No matter what methodology is used, HPHS ranks at or near the top, especially when compared with other open enrollment schools. And, while ranking highly is obviously preferred, the true measure of success is how well our graduates are prepared for college and beyond,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said. “We are particularly proud that, according to National Clearinghouse data, 97% of HPHS graduates return for their second year of undergraduate studies compared to the state/national average of 73.9%. That statistic speaks to a strong culture of college readiness in our school district.”
HPISD students are also reaching new heights on Advanced Placement exam results. In May 2021, 1,248 Highland Park High School students completed 3,189 AP exams. The percentage of graduating seniors in the class of 2021 who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school increased in HPISD from 78 percent in 2020 to 84 percent in 2021.
As the result of last year’s AP exams, the College Board reports that HPISD has the following:
  • 227 AP Scholars (students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams)
  • 84 AP Scholars with Honor (students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more exams)
  • 187 AP Scholars with Distinction (students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams).
To learn more about HPISD Academic Performance, click here.