H.B. Plant is no. 1 in ‘U.S. News’ ranking of Tampa Bay High Schools

St. Petersburg High tops Pinellas schools.

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA GOOGLE MAPS
Photo via Google Maps

For the first time ever, U.S. News & World Report (which invented this whole listicle and ranking thing before it took off online) ranked the best high schools in Tampa Bay.

At the top of that list? Henry B. Plant High School in South Tampa. The publication said that Plant, which opened in 1927, is ranked No. 36 in Florida. St. Petersburg High School is the highest-ranked Pinellas school, and the Bay area high school ranking bottoms out at No. 66, where New Port Richey’s Ridgewood High School, No. 455 in Florida, is listed.

Part of a look at over 17,000 schools nationwide, the ranking’s methodology applied values to six different criteria, including graduation rate, college curriculum breadth and underserved student performance (which were worth 10% each).

According to the rankings, underserved student performance is "a measure assessing learning outcomes only among black, Hispanic and low-income students. This evaluates how well this underserved subgroup scored on state assessments compared with the average for non-underserved students among schools in the same state."

Math and reading proficiency (20%) and math and reading performance (20%) were also considered.

College readiness — defined by U.S. News as “The proportions of 12th graders who took and passed at least one AP or IB exam," with passing worth three times more than just taking — was worth 30%, which is interesting considering debates over whether or not certain bachelor’s degrees (and the loans often associated with earning one) are even worth it when other options like trade school are available.

Another interesting data point from the study is the total minority enrollment of the ranked schools and the percentage of kids who are economically disadvantaged. According to U.S. News’s demographic breakdown, total minority (that’s black and Hispanic according to the publication) enrollment at Plant is 33% with 20% of all students considered economically disadvantaged. At Ridgewood in Pasco County, the total minority enrollment is 38%, and 77% of students are economically disadvantaged.

In its overall look at high schools nationwide, U.S. News results show that 66.4% of the schools in the top half of the rankings had 25% or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches compared with 30.7% of the schools in the top 5% of the rankings. Among all ranked schools, 76.1% had 25% or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

See the full list via usnews.com.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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