Lowell High named among nation’s best

Nine high schools in San Francisco and San Mateo County made the grade for Newsweek magazine’s 2008 list of top public high schools in America.

Schools ranked high if they had a high percentage of students who take advanced placement, international baccalaureate and Cambridge tests, according to a statement from Newsweek.

In San Francisco, top honors went to Lowell High School, which ranked 54th in the nation on the list of 1,355.

“I’m very proud of the accomplishments at Lowell,” Principal Andrew Ishibashi said. “We have a large special-education program, and a large number of students on free and reduced lunch, which makes us more of a regular school,” Ishibashi said.

In San Mateo County, five schools in the San Mateo Union High School District made the list — Burlingame, Mills, San Mateo, Aragon and Hillsdale.

Two schools in the Sequoia High School District — Menlo-Atherton and Sequoia — also made the list, which will be published in the magazine’s May 26 edition.

The top score went to BASIS, a charter school in Tucson, Ariz.

Such recognition is important, but should be only one of several criteria parents use when choosing a school for their teen, according to David Miller, superintendent of SMUSHD. Academic offerings, as well as whether a student has special needs, should also be part of the equation, he said.

“You can look at test scores, or talk to people, but you really should visit,” Miller said. “When I go to Mills, for example, I get a sense of how safe and caring it is, including the students — we’ve got great kids in this district.”

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

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