Main Line High Schools Dominate 2017 Niche State Rankings

Philly's two top public high schools also make the top ten.

Conestoga High School in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District | Google Street View

Conestoga High School in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District. According to the latest Niche.com rankings, it’s the state’s best public high school in the state’s best school district. | Google Street View image

It’s getting crowded out on the Main Line as the area’s traditional powerhouse high schools get lapped by a more recent arrival to the ranks of top performers.

In its 2017 rankings of the “Best Public High Schools in Pennsylvania,” Niche.com bestowed the No. 1 position upon Conestoga High School in Berwyn, the one high school in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District (T-E).

Right behind it is Radnor Senior High School, the Radnor Township School District’s flagship. In between it and the two high schools in the Lower Merion School District is North Allegheny High School in suburban Pittsburgh; Harriton and Lower Merion high schools rank fourth and fifth, respectively.

The districts housing the four Main Line powerhouses also fared well on Niche’s rankings: its 2017 list of the best school districts in the state ranked T-E, Radnor and Lower Merion 1-2-3 in that order. North Allegheny, home to the third-best high school, came right behind them. Niche also named T-E the No. 1 school district in the country this year, with Radnor coming in third and Lower Merion eighth.

Defenders of Philadelphia’s public schools can take some comfort in knowing that two city public schools also made the top ten. Julia Reynolds Masterman, a perennial 50-best-in-the-country and best-in-the-state finisher on the annual U.S. News & World Report high school rankings, came in seventh in Niche’s survey, and Central High School, the city’s oldest, earned the No. 10 spot.

One other high school in our region placed in the top 10: No. 8 Unionville High School in Kennett Square. The other two top-10 schools are in the Pittsburgh area: No. 6 Fox Chapel Area High School and No. 9 Mt. Lebanon.

All of the schools received overall grades of A+ from Niche, which bases its rankings on a combination of academic statistics based on state tests, school district and Department of Education data, and responses to surveys from Niche users. Individual grades are awarded for academics, teacher quality, culture and diversity, clubs and activities, resources and facilities, sports, and health and safety. The academic grade accounts for half of the overall grade, while teachers, culture and diversity, health and safety and overall rankings on parent surveys account for 10 percent each. Resources and facilities account for five percent, and the remaining two categories together make up the last five percent.

All of the Main Line schools received A-plus grades in every graded category except culture and diversity, where they all received B-minus grades. (Central, the only school in the top 10 to receive an A-plus in that category, was ranked by Niche as the state’s most diverse public high school.) Parents gave all of the top-10 schools overall ratings of four or better on a scale of one to five, with top-ranked Conestoga receiving the highest overall score from parents: 4.5.

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