Below are profiles featuring the top nine high schools in the Dallas Metropolitan Area. In order to be featured as a Top High School, the school must have a 2010 Education.com TestRating of 10 out of 10. The TestRating compares a school's standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the same state. Find your school and see how it compares.
Carroll Independent School District
98 percent of students college-bound after graduating from Carroll High, where college prep is the focus. Students looking for an academic challenge can select from a variety of AP and Honors courses, and the school also provides programs for gifted students and students with special needs.
The school has two campuses: one for underclassmen and one for upperclassmen. Some programs are duplicated, but others are only offered at certain buildings. For example, all music and Mandarin courses are held at the upperclassmen campus.
The school participates in the district-wide Success Scholars Community Service Program, in which students are challenged to volunteer 100 hours over their four years at school. The school has a committee to help facilitate communication between the community and students in order to find unique opportunities.
Athletics are popular, and the school offers football, swimming and tennis. Students can be a member of one of many clubs on campus, including Frisbee Club, International Club, and Photo Club. Service clubs are also on campus, such as Key Club, Best Buddies, and Habitat for Humanity.
Highland Park Independent School District
During lunchtime, volunteers staff the Highland Park High School cafeteria by preparing and serving food. This is just one of the many ways that community and parents support the school through raising funds and donating time.
83 percent of students are very involved on campus through participating in an activity or sports team. Community service is impressed upon the student and most volunteer well over the 50 hours required for graduation.
The school is currently focusing on the Global Education Leadership program, which emphasis global empathy, communications and partnerships. Students have opportunities to go to Africa and Asia through the program.
Sports consistently do well in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and many teams compete on a state level, especially the girl’s swimming team. Performing arts are strong on campus and include a 100 student orchestra and theater program known throughout the state. Academic teams, including the Academic Decathlon, Quiz Bowl, and Science team have also earned state or national honors.
“Our major emphasis is creating students that will be world leaders and will understand the mutual value in cultural understanding. We want them to develop and understand a partnership beyond community service,” said Walter Kelly, Principal.
Dallas Independent School District
Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School provides an all-girls environment that prepares students for college. The school focuses on math, science, and technology in additional to global issues. Students can take both pre-AP and AP level courses, and the girls gain leadership skills through volunteering and attending summer institutes. Technology is important on campus and each teacher attends 24 hours of specialized training on the topic. Students who need extra help can attend after school tutoring sessions.
Two days a week, students can participate in after school activities including The Lulac Club and Academic Decathlon. Students can sing in the choir, play in instrument in the band, or ring hand bells. Intramural lacrosse, basketball and volleyball are also offered.
The school's mission is to "nurture the intellectual curiosity and creativity of young women and to address their developmental needs through dynamic, participatory learning processes. Our efforts strive to prepare young women for the highest level of academic success in college and graduate school and for effective and ethical leadership in our democratic society."
The Yvonne Townview Magnet Center houses six specialty magnet schools, each separate school sharing some teachers and facilities. The student population at the schools is very diverse and admission to the schools is through an application process. The premise of the center is to provide students with an education specialized to their career interest, or in the case of the Talented and Gifted School, learning styles.
The schools hire only certified teachers and 95 percent of the faculty hold advanced degrees. The magnet center has technology integrated throughout, including Smart Boards, computer labs, and digital projectors. The schools also have access to a state-of-the-art auditorium, dental labs, and a commercial clinic. Although sports are not offered at the magnet schools, students can play sports at their base school. Four of the six schools are on our top high schools list:
1) Magnet Center for Public Services Govt/Law/Law Enforcement -- Dallas Independent School District
Students at the school select a cluster from Public Services, Law, and Law Enforcement based on their future career interests. During their first two years, students learn fundamentals about the professions and focus on core academics. During their junior year, student have an unpaid internship for three hours every other day, such as observing court proceedings, filing in a government office or observing bookings at the Police Department. As seniors, students apply and interview for paid internships doing meaningful work.
The students stay with the same 8 teachers for the majority of their classes and many develop close relationships. The school focuses on experiential learning and uses the City of Dallas as their classroom whenever possible. Other opportunities include sophomores having mentors from the Dallas Bar Association and school-wide assemblies with speakers in the field.
“Our school is based on the relationships between students and teachers. Our school is like a family to us,” said Tony Patganoa, Principal.
2) School of Education and Social Services -- Dallas Independent School District
Students attend the School of Education and Social Services because they are interested in a career helping others, including teaching or administration, psychology, social services, or early childhood education. During their freshmen year, each student takes an overview course to help determine if they want to pursue the Child Related Professions, Social Services, or Education cluster.
Once a student selects a cluster, they attend classes and participate in real world-experiences to help prepare them for their future career. Many students intern in classrooms and other professional settings as an upperclassman. After school tutoring is also provided for students who need extra help.
3) School of Health Professions -- Dallas Independent School District
Students at the School of Health Professions take courses related to medical careers and then select a cluster from the many offered, including Vet, Nursing Assistant, Dentistry, and others.
As upperclassman, students intern at local medical facilities and offices while still continuing their core studies. Student can join the Health Occupations Students of America and the National Honor Society on Campus.
The school's motto is to, “prepare students to function effectively in their community and in our diverse global society by offering a balanced academic and health career-oriented education.”
4) School for the Talented and Gifted -- Dallas Independent School District
Students at the School for the Talented and Gifted pursue college level work while in high school. If they perform to the best of their ability during their four years, students are guaranteed a college scholarship from the administration. In a recent school year, over 93 percent of the students were awarded scholarships and over 12 million dollars was given to a class of 45 students. The academics are rigorous and much of the learning is done through hands on experiences.
The school offers interdisciplinary seminars throughout the year that build a community, help students apply their knowledge and promote a family atmosphere on campus. Seminars include learning about different careers, a three-day TAG TREK where students create products that are graded and a TAG Interim Term where students spend two days learning skills, such as ham radio, swing dancing or macramé.
Please note that only schools in the following Texas counties were considered for this article: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise