The Top Public High School in California: A Closer Look at the #1 School

When it comes to education, parents want the best for their children. And in California, one of the most populous and diverse states in the United States, there are plenty of options for high schools. But which one stands out as the #1 public high school in California?

The Criteria for Ranking

Before we reveal the top school, it's important to understand the criteria used for ranking. The #1 public high school in California is determined by a combination of factors, including academic performance, graduation rates, college readiness, and diversity. Academic performance is measured by standardized test scores, such as the SAT and ACT.

Graduation rates reflect the percentage of students who successfully complete high school within four years. College readiness takes into account the number of students who take advanced placement (AP) courses and exams, as well as their scores on those exams. And diversity looks at the racial and ethnic makeup of the student body.

The Top School: Lowell High School

After analyzing these factors, it's clear that Lowell High School in San Francisco is the #1 public high school in California. This prestigious school has consistently ranked at the top for many years. Founded in 1856, Lowell High School has a long history of academic excellence.

It is a magnet school that offers a rigorous curriculum with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The school also has a strong humanities program. Lowell High School has an impressive graduation rate of 99%, with 97% of students going on to attend college. In addition, 85% of students take AP courses and exams, with a pass rate of 85%. This shows that not only are students graduating, but they are also well-prepared for college. But what sets Lowell High School apart from other top schools in California is its diversity.

The student body is made up of 55% Asian, 20% White, 10% Hispanic, and 8% African American students. This diversity reflects the diverse population of San Francisco and prepares students for the real world.

Other Top Schools in California

While Lowell High School takes the top spot, there are many other outstanding public high schools in California. Here are the top five schools that round out the list:
  • Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos
  • Oxford Academy in Cypress
  • Monta Vista High School in Cupertino
  • Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto
  • Troy High School in Fullerton
All of these schools have high graduation rates and impressive college readiness scores. They also have diverse student bodies, with a mix of Asian, White, Hispanic, and African American students.

The Importance of Public Education

The fact that the #1 public high school in California is a magnet school may raise some questions about the state of public education.

Magnet schools are public schools that offer specialized programs and attract students from different neighborhoods. This can lead to a lack of diversity and unequal access to quality education. However, it's important to note that all of the top schools on this list are public schools. This shows that there are still many excellent options for public education in California. And while magnet schools may have their drawbacks, they also provide opportunities for students to excel in specific areas of interest.


In conclusion, Lowell High School in San Francisco is the #1 public high school in California.

Its combination of academic excellence, high graduation rates, college readiness, and diversity make it stand out among other top schools in the state. But it's important to remember that there are many other outstanding public high schools in California, providing students with a quality education and preparing them for the future.

Jeannette Daehn
Jeannette Daehn

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