It feels good to be No. 1, but that feeling was lost on Fairfax County's premiere high school on Tuesday: After five years in the top spot, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology fell to No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report's rankings of public high schools.
"TJ" was bested by Dallas's School for Talented and Gifted, which has a studio to teacher ratio of 14:1, smaller than the Alexandria magnet's 17:1. They both scored perfect "100"s on the college readiness index.
According to U.S. News & World Report, students at the Dallas school must take a minimum of 11 AP courses to graduate, and can enroll in mini-courses such as ballroom dancing or glass blowing between terms. Another Dallas school claimed the No. 3 spot in the nation.
But Fairfax County — and the Washington area, for that matter — had more victories than just TJ. Falls Church's George Mason High School hit No. 19, while Fairfax's George C. Marshall High School fell in at No. 55. Also in Fairfax County: McLean High School ranked No. 85 and Langley High School, also in McLean, No. 98.
Three Montgomery County Public Schools campuses were among the nation's 100 best public high schools. Winston Churchill topped the school district at 57th in the nation and the best high school in Maryland; Whitman and Wootton were the second and third in the state, but No. 84 and No. 93 nationally.
“The Best High Schools ranking is another indicator that, overall, MCPS is doing a great job preparing students for college and careers,” Superintendent Joshua Starr said. "We celebrate the accomplishments of the schools on this list and remain focused on helping all schools improve teaching and learning in order to best serve the needs of our students.”