Five Tri-Valley schools have been awarded Silver medals as part of US News & World Reports' annual assessment of the country's best high schools.
In a report by Dublin writer John Zukoski, these schools are considered to be in the top 3 percent of all high schools in the U.S. They are:
• Amador Valley and Foothill high schools in Pleasanton;
• Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley high schools in Danville; and,
• California High School in San Ramon.
Dougherty Valley High in San Ramon was too new to be considered for this year's rankings.
Dublin High School was not awarded a medal or honorable mention in the 2010 rankings.
Mission San Jose of Fremont was ranked No. 1 out of all traditional public high schools (open enrollment, non-magnet, non-charter) in the U.S., Zukoski reported.
"The schools awarded with Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals and Honorable Mention were chosen based on their excellence in three primary areas," Zukoski said.
These are (1) performance on state high school exams, (2) performance of disadvantaged students, and (3) college readiness performance.
"The last criterion is an effective approach to winnowing out schools that purely 'teach to the test,'" Zukoski said.
"Remarkably, more than one third (9) of the top 26 traditional public high schools in the country are within 35 miles of (the Tri-Valley)," he added. "Four of the nine are in the East Bay (Mission San Jose, Piedmont, Campolindo, Miramonte) and the other five are in the South Bay (Gunn, Monta Vista, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Lynbrook)."
The median enrollment of these nine Bay Area Gold Medal schools is 1,500. The mean enrollment of the East Bay Gold Medal schools is 1,310: Mission San Jose, 1,970; Piedmont, 780; Campolindo, 1,208, and Miramonte, 1,282.
"The common belief has been that high schools require a minimum of 2,000 students to provide kids with the breadth and depth of courses necessary to achieve academic success," Zukoski said. "The average enrollment figures above seem to refute this conventional thinking."