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Poll: Would You Send Your Kid To The Top High School In The Region/State If You Could?

June 3, 2012 Education, Featured, Sunday Poll 33 Comments

Fourteen high schools in Missouri made Newsweek’s list of Top 1,000 High Schools for 2012. All but one were in the St. Louis metropolitan area. No Metro East high school made the list.

To generate the overall rankings, we factored in six criteria. Three make up 75 percent of the overall score—the four-year graduation rate, college-acceptance rate, and number of AP and other high-level exams given per student. Average SAT/ACT scores and AP/college-level test scores count for another 10 percent each, and the number of AP courses offered per student counts for the final 5 percent. Because most of these data aren’t available from a central source, we collected it by reaching out directly to high-school administrators directly. 15,000 were contacted, and 2300 responded.

Below is a list of all 14 Missouri high schools on the list and where they ranked. The first two listed earned spots in the Top 20 High Schools in the Midwest.

125) Metro Academic and Classical High School, St. Louis, MO

ABOVE: Missouri's top high school, Metro Academic & Classical High School at 4015 McPherson in the City of St. Louis
  • Graduation rate: 100%
  • Percent of college-bound graduates: 100
  • Number of AP/IB tests per student: 0.7
  • Average graduate SAT score: n/a
  • Average graduate ACT score: 26.9
  • Average student AP score: 2.6

129) Clayton High School, Clayton, MO

  • Graduation rate: 100%
  • Percent of college-bound graduates: 95
  • Number of AP/IB tests per student: 0.6
  • Average graduate SAT score: 2016
  • Average graduate ACT score: 25.8
  • Average student AP score: 4.1

181) Lincoln College Prep, Kansas City

188) Ladue Horton Watkins, Ladue

497) Rockwood Summit, Fenton

508) Lafayette, Wildwood

585) Marquette, Chesterfield

663) Lindbergh, St. Louis County

676) Eureka, Eureka

801) Parkway West, Ballwin

871) Parkway Central, Chesterfield

906) Kirkwood, Kirkwood

934) Parkway South, Manchester

947) Parkway North

The poll question this week asks you to assume you have kids, then answer if you’d send them to the best high school in the state if you could.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "33 comments" on this Article:

  1. Justin Shire says:

    we do and will continue to make living arrangements heavily weighted on School choices – good to see our local school on the list.

  2. msrdls says:

    I live in the district of #129 and do not send my sons to Clayton HS. While it is obviously an excellent school district, it fails to pass  the private school test. IMO.

    • Cjeanpatton says:

      What is the private school test?  Clayton is an excellent school district academically as well as culturually.  What’s the problem?

      • msrdls says:

        Cjeanpatton: I can’t believe you would even ask! But since you did, I’ll give you MY reasons. They may  not be important to you. I chose private high school for my two sons in lieu of a new boat, a new Volvo convertible, and a three week vacation in France. I don’t buy my clothes at Bloomingdale’s.
        1) 80% of their teachers have earned masters degrees or a comparable terminal degrees;
        2)The faculty are attracted to the school because the students want to be there. There’s a chemistry that exists between faculty and student that, in my opinion, doesn’t necessarily exist in a typical public school;
        3) The faculty are hired because they have achieved competence in and demonstrate compassion for their subject matter. And you find this in classroom after classroom, day in and day out. The kids enjoy being around other kids and really bright faculty!
        4) There are fewer discipline problems in private schools, because the kids want to be there. And the dead wood can easily be weeded out, if neccessary.
        5) Private schools offer extracurricular activities not always found in public schools–academic and non-academic clubs and associations, not just athletic-related, band and orchestra, etc.  It’s cool to be smart in a private school!!! Ever heard of Latin club at Soldan, or Greek studies at Beaumont?
        6) While the major focus is on preparing students for college, personal motivation and development are addressed on a parallel level, all with academic preparation in mind.
        7) Parents get involved in private schools. (enuf said?)
        8) Relationships and friendships made in private school parlay into personal and business relationships that often last a liftetime.
        9) Graduates attend excellent universities, typically.Don’t know the last time I heard of a student attending Fo-Po.

        While this can happen in public schools, we know it is NOT the norm in public schools, where it really is the norm at certain private  schools.  While Clayton offers an excellent curriculum, and while they have competent teachers and excellent discipline, they don’t “do” what my sons’ school does. And for that, I’m willing and eager  to pay big time!

        • aaronlevi says:

           and of course reason #10. your shit doesn’t stink when you attend private school.

          • msrdls says:

            No reason to show an attitude, aaronlevi!!  I don’t really have the answer to that question:  “If a private school student defecates in a field filled with flies and the flies are not attracted to the odor, does that mean there is no odor?”  Maybe you would want to take a stab at that answer, aaronlevi.  Seriously, aaronlevi, I’ve never noticed an “attitude” among any of my sons’ high school friends. They just kids, some really bright, others not so much–all with a work ethic, though, all with goals and a desire to do more in life than scoop ice cream at the corner deli.  Does this disappoint you?

          • aaronlevi says:

            really? every kid at a private school is an angel? i coached for one of the evil black public schools that you’re so afraid of sending your babies too, we played private schools-some great kids, some snotty bratty ones. same with the public schools we played.

            i’m a proud product of public schools   As a result, i skipped a grade, graduated high school at 16, full scholarship to a state university, graduated college at 20, Master’s Degree, owned my first house at 21, etc, etc. 

            plenty of successful people came out of public schools.

            oh, and i did scoop ice cream during high school, it was a great job.

            in closing, you’re an elitist prick.

          • msrdls says:

            Why so angry?

          • aaronlevi says:

             because i’ve dedicated 10 years to public education and i get sick of elitist clowns like yourself bad mouthing my profession.

          • msrdls says:

            I don’t take your comments as an affrontal against me. They’re much too weak.  They actually represent an expression of  anger toward yourself; did you know that?  Probably not.  You mentioned you have a masters. Ah…..in English?  (Re-read your posts.) If your writing skills  are indicative of the preparedness of typical public school “educators,” I’m convinced more than ever that I’m making the right academic choices for my sons. Let’s hope that your fellow “educators” understand the differences between “who’s and whose”, “towards and toward’s”, “too and to”.  Why? Because obviously you do not!

          • aaronlevi says:

            BS in mathematics(Central Missouri State 1998, GPA 3.8), master’s in social work (St. Louis University 2007, GPA 3.9). And just to throw it in, the last time my IQ was tested (6th grade to qualify for gifted classes at a new school district) it was a 139. The grammar/spelling/etc of the papers I wrote during my masters-flawless; on the internet? i don’t really have time to care that much.

            anger toward myself? so now you’re going to psycho-analyze me? Please inform me of your credentials and qualifications, and maybe i’ll take your assessment under consideration.

            Truth be told, i don’t have any reason for my comments to be an “affrontal [sic] against” you, I’m sure you have at least a few redeeming qualities, but here on the internerd, you come across like a pompous ass. You’ve decided to live with rich white people and send your kids to school with (mostly) other rich white people; some of us wish to experience life in a richer sense. I like diversity (across racial, religious, socio-economic, and other cultural categories). I like knowing that i can walk down the street without being scared of people different than me. Those things aren’t important for you? That’s fine, but don’t come on a public forum criticizing people who have chosen such a lifestyle and not expect a reaction.

          • Eric says:

             There’s plenty of diversity in Clayton and private schools – unless Indians, Chinese and Arabs do not count.

          • aaronlevi says:

             my wife is 1/2 indian…inconsequential info.

            so you’ve described diversity across one, maybe 2, categories (ethnicity and possibly religion). there’s a lot more to diversity than skin color and gods.

          • Eric says:

            You listed “racial, religious, socio-economic, and other cultural” diversity. I’ve described the first two  categories. Socioeconomic diversity is higher than you think in public school districts like Clayton, between the large numbers of immigrants who spend every cent they have on a small apartment in a good school district, and the 20% of students who transfer from the city. That leaves “other cultural” diversity. I have no idea what you mean by that, but unless you are specifically designing your definition to exclude places like Clayton (or Ladue or Parkway), then they probably have it.

          • msrdls says:

            BS, Civil Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 1986.
            MS, Structural Engineering, U of I (Urbana/Champ), 1989.Did well enough at both institutions to gain acceptance and to earn degrees.

            The comment about all the anger, specifically directed to yourself, was my wife’s:
            BS, Biology, University of Notre Dame, 1986.

            MD, UCLA, 1995.  She too did well enough to get through both programs and works today as a child psychiatrist.

            You’re right about one thing. Not all the kids at my sons’ school are white. Some are black; others are shades of white and black. All are students–not all are excellent students, though. But none is just a “pupil”.  Not all come from “rich neighborhoods” (your reference). Some actually live in or very near the ghetto. But at the end of the day, they, like the other students,  do their 3+ hours of homework each school night, get up in the morning, make the effort to attend classes and stay awake, show respect for the teachers– because they know that doing so will assure them future success–and it does wonders right now for the ego and to boost their self-esteem.

            Degrees are tools, nothing more. In the wrong hands, they’re useless. And one final comment about degrees: both of us know that the MS is much easier than the BS (ssssssshhhhhhhh! Someone might hear!)

          • aaron_levi says:

            and if you came to my former workplaces (Roosevelt High, Gateway Tech, University City High), i could show you any number of kids who meet the same qualifications of your sons’ classmates. They unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to attend expensive private schools (parents couldn’t afford or didn’t care enough or they weren’t good enough athletes to receive scholarships). those kids need an option, they deserve to get the same education as your children and their classmates. . I’m proud to have chosen to work at their schools and provide them that option.

            and just for the record, the BS was much easier for me. Math and physics always came easy to me, writing has always been more of a challenge (as you chose to point out with my terrible grammar mistakes).

  3. JZ71 says:

    How many are schools with general populations, open to all district residents, and how many are magnet or charter schools, that have limitations on enrollment / selective admission?  In my mind, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison, clouded by demographics – more-successful people are generally in a better position, financially, to seek out and select better-performing districts to live in . . . .

    • Eric says:

       Exactly. Clayton has to accept anyone who happens to live in the district, as well as the 20% of its students who live in the city (transfer program). Metro can set its own admissions standards, I believe.

      Also, the Clayton and Metro statistics are pretty comparable, except for AP exams where Clayton absolutely kills Metro. An AP score of 1,2,3 is pretty much worthless since most colleges only give credit for a 4 or above. Metro’s average of 2.6 makes me wonder why they are pushing so many kids to enroll in AP classes and take exams they end up failing.

    • aaronlevi says:

       metro and lincoln prep (KC) are both urban magnet schools that require certain IQ/Academic scores to qualify. the rest are all suburban neighborhood high schools.

  4. Lklein says:

    question is why are the other, especially unaccredited, schools so bad – city and county and what can be done.

  5. Rick says:

    How much of the likelihood of academic success is based on the luck of being born into a family of working/educated parents? 

    • Eric says:

       That is certainly the biggest factor.

    • aaronlevi says:

       bingo. take note libertarians, the “level playing field” you fantasize about does not exist.

      • Eric says:

         Libertarians don’t fantasize that the free market will magically give everyone the same accomplishments, like you think. They prefer the free market for other reasons.

  6. Fredo says:

    It sounds like the list was picked only from the responses returned by the schools.  Out of 2300 responses, they picked the top 1000.  I would expect that better schools are more likely respond, but when 43% of the sample make the list I wonder how meaningful the results are. 

    Also, are any any of these schools private?  (I don’t have kids.)  Are public schools out-performing schools like MICDC, or did the private schools not respond?

  7. aaronlevi says:

    in regards to the question, if my kids qualified for Metro, and it was a good fit for them, i would absolutely send them. it’s a great school, i have several friends who graduated from there. However, it’s not for every kid. Not everyone is cut out for high academic standards-even kids in the gifted IQ range. I had a co-worker who’s daughter qualified for Kennard Elementary (Metro’s feeder school) and he chose to send her somewhere else. He said she was much more the “free spirit” type, more geared toward’s fine and practical arts, the classical studies model of Kennard/Mckinley/Metro just wasn’t right for her. 

  8. Guest says:

    I got into Metro because a relative knew the principal back in the day.  The “lottery” system for admissions?  Maybe for some.  Others, it’s still about who you know.  When I attended Metro, the top students were under tremendous pressure to succeed and it showed.   

  9. someoneelse says:

    Where are Burroughs/MICDS/SLUH/Rosati-Kain in this list? If the list maker didn’t allow the private schools to compete (or perhaps the private schools chose not to compete), the list should be re-titled.

  10. Branwell1 says:

    My wife graduated from Metro many years ago. Her descriptions make it sound to me much more collegiate and worldly in atmosphere than any typical high school, public or private. Students were treated more like adults and afforded privileges not usually available to kids at other institutions. At the same time, disrespect, abuse of the liberal environment, and failure to perform academically were strictly not tolerated. The kids thrived and today have the same fond memories as my wife about their experience, from all I have heard.   

  11. CHS alum says:

    To the lady that doesn’t think Clayton passes the “private school test”:
    — Clayton had the most national merit recognitions of any school in the state, public or private, in this past graduating class
    — Clayton sent over 20 students to the ivy league or comparable schools (stanford etc) this year—including three to harvard—the most in st louis
    — Clayton produced a presidential scholar in this class, of which there are only 2 per state
    — Clayton is much more diverse than any elite private school due to the deseg program, as well as the children of all the local washu faculty
    — Clayton dominates local science, math, and engineering competitions (TEAMS, WYSE, ACS etc) and has for years, due to its phenomenal faculty
    — Clayton’s writing curriculum is the best in the area and is a national model for schools elsewhere.
    — Oh, and Clayton is free.
    So please, shut up.

    • JZ71 says:

      A little insecure, perhaps?  Clayton is obviously one of the top schools in the state, but you still have some learnin’ to do.  College names are capitalized (Harvard, Stanford, etc.) and no public school is “free” – Clayton residents pay high property taxes to support their quality schools.  And when it comes to statistics, they can be (and are) manipulated to change outcomes.  The 4 point difference between the two schools, on a 1,000 point scale, is well within any margin for error.  There will be only number one, and there ARE more than 120 other public schools, across the country, that have “better” scores, “better” students and, apparently, “better” outcomes.  Does that make you and your fellow alumni POS’s?  Absolutely not!  But, then again, this graduation speech may not be to your liking, either, from another top high school:  http://youtu.be/_lfxYhtf8o4

  12. CHS alum says:

    Oh, and btw, the really eye-opening stat up there: compare the avg AP test scores of Metro and Clayton. enough said. 

  13. L Grinde says:

    Lindbergh HS all the WAY!! I graduated with a great science background into my engineering degree and current job all thanks to LHS! It may be 663 in the nation but pretty good for this Chemical Engineer…


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