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New rankings show Durham's top-rated and most improved public high schools

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By Hoodline - Published on August 13, 2019.

How strong are the public high schools in Durham?

With a fresh school year kicking off, we analyzed newly released data from Niche.com, which incorporates comprehensive report cards, rankings and reviews to help you choose the right school, to identify those schools that made the biggest strides last year, as well as those that top the city's best public high school rankings.

Riverside High School's overall rating improved the most among its peers in Durham, rising from a B- to a B, according to data from Niche.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the school, located at 3218 Rose of Sharon Road, enrolls 1,827 students. Riverside High School serves a diverse population: 41% of students identify as black, 31% identify as Hispanic and 23% identify as white. Niche gave the school mixed grades: B- on an A-D scale for academics, C for administration and C for clubs and activities.

The overall ranking comes from Niche's proprietary algorithms. A school's ranking might change due to many factors, including the relative rankings of similar schools and whether a school gained or lost peers due to openings or closings. Other numbers come from current public data from the U.S. government.

Academically, 41% of Riverside High School's students scored proficient or above in math, and 40% did so in reading. That's compared to city averages of 35% in math and 43% in reading. The school's improved rating is notable since it serves a less-affluent population, with 54% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

It's not the only school that's climbed Niche's rankings this year. Hillside High School saw its overall rating go from a C to a C+. The school is located at 3727 Fayetteville St. and is a bit smaller, currently serving 1,288 students, of whom 79% identify as black and 18% identify as Hispanic.

Niche gave Hillside High School mixed grades: C on an A-D scale for academics, B for administration and A for clubs and activities. Hillside High School's latest math proficiency was 25%, and reading proficiency was 31%. Hillside High School also serves a less-affluent population, with 58% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

The School for Creative Studies also saw improvement in its overall rating, from a C+ to a B-. The school is located at 5001 Red Mill Road and has 610 students currently enrolled, of whom 42% identify as black, 31% identify as white and 22% identify as Hispanic.

Niche gave The School for Creative Studies mixed grades — C+ on an A-D scale for academics, C- for administration and B- for clubs and activities. Its latest math proficiency was 40%, and reading proficiency was 46%.

While some public high schools are moving up the ranks, others are consistently top-rated overall, including:

  • North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, with an overall rating of A+.
  • Durham School of the Arts, with an A rating overall.
  • J.D. Clement Early College High School, rated A- overall.

This story was created automatically using data from Niche.com, then reviewed by an editor before publication. Click here for more about how and why Hoodline is automating local news. Got thoughts about what we're doing? Go here to share your feedback.

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